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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Will the existing reservations in educational institutions and jobs in Odisha remain within the 50 % bracket or exceed?

The question has now become the point of discussion especially in the State after the Supreme Court recently said that the 50 per cent cap on reservation could be re-examined in view of the subsequent constitutional amendments and the socio-economic changes that followed.

While hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Maratha reservation, the Supreme Court made several States including Odisha parties and invited them to make their stand clear on the question of whether reservation should continue to remain within the 50% boundary or not by March 15.

“Even if the matter pertains to Maharashtra, the Supreme Court is of the view that the reservation issue is of grave importance and the court has sought the stand of various State governments,” said Sarthak Nayak, Supreme Court lawyer.

After nearly three decades of the Indra Sawhney judgment, the Supreme Court said on Monday that the 50 per cent cap on reservation laid down by a nine-judge bench in 1992 could be re-examined.

The ceiling of reservation is beyond 50 % in States like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

In Odisha, the total reservation for jobs is within the 50% boundary including 22.5 % for Scheduled Tribes (ST), 16.25% for Scheduled Castes (SC) and 11.25 % for the SEBC.

Speculation is rife over what will be Odisha government’s stand in the Supreme Court on the overall quota and what formula it will adopt to satisfy people in all categories remains to be seen.

However, several social and political parties are demanding 27 % reservation for OBCs in public employment and reserving seats for OBCs/SEBCs in educational and technical institutions in the State.

While the Congress has demanded 60 % reservation, the BJP is of the view to cap the quota over 50 %. The ruling BJD leaders however preferred to keep the card close to chest and said that the government will take appropriate decision on it soon.

“There should be reservation above 60 % to include SC, ST, SEBCs and others which will help them to get jobs,” said Congress MLA Suresh Routray.

BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan said, “If it is being done by other States, why common man in Odisha would deprive of it. There should be reservations as per population ratio.”

BJD MLA, Sashi Bhusan Behera said, “To ensure that all categories are included, the State government will take an appropriate decision on it.”

(Edited By Ramakant Biswas)

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