Patna HC Strikes Down Bihar Govt's Law Raising Reservation For Backward Castes To 65%

The hike in reservation for backward castes from 50 to 65 per cent was brought in by the Nitish Kumar-led government in Bihar in November 2023.

The Nitish Kumar Government brought in the hike in November 2023. Photo: PTI

The Patna High Court on Thursday struck down the hike in reservations that came into effect in Bihar last year when the quotas were raised from 50 to 65 per cent for Dalits, backward classes and tribals in government jobs and educational institutions.

A division bench of Chief Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Harish Kumar passed the order after hearing a set of pleas which opposed the legislations brought by Nitish Kumar-led government in November 2023.

"The court set aside the Bihar Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (Amendment) Act, 2023 and The Bihar (In admission in Educational Institutions) Reservation (Amendment) Act, 2023 as ultra vires the constitution and violative of equality clause under Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution," Bar and Bench reported.

Appearing for one of the petitioners, counsel Ritika Rani, said, "We had submitted that the amendments to the reservation laws were violative of the Constitution."

The court had reportedly reserved its judgment in March after hearing the arguments of both sides. "Today, the final order has come and our petitions have been allowed," Rani told news agency PTI.

The JDU government on November 21, 2023, had issued a gazette notifications for raising the quota for backward castes from 50 to 65 per cent in government jobs in Bihar and educational institutions.

With both the laws that hiked the reservation, Bihar was the second only to Tamil Nadu to provide the maximum level of quota to backward classes.

Tamil Nadu offers 50 per cent reservation while Bihar provided 43 per cent, followed by Sikkim and Kerala, Times of India reported. The economically weaker section (EWS) is also provided 10 per cent quota in Bihar.

Following the gazette notification about the two laws, Nitish Kumar had urged officials to ensure proper implementation of the hiked quota percentage in both government jobs and educational institutes for "benefit of those who need it".

(With PTI inputs)