Union government urges Pinnacle Court that Changing OBC seats into general ones will deprive reserved category

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The Union government went to the top Court seeking recall of its December 17 order directing the Madhya Pradesh State Election Commission (SEC) to stay the poll process on seats reserved for Other Backward Classes in the local body there and re-notify those seats for the general category. The government has argued that upliftment of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the OBCs has been the utmost priority of the government and inadequate representation of OBCs in local self-government defeats the “very object, intent and purpose of the very idea” of the decentralisation of power and taking governance to the grass-root level. The Union has told the Supreme Court that staying of election to seats reserved for the Other Backward Class (OBC) category in the upcoming local body polls or notifying the OBC seats as general seats will deprive the reserved category for five years and be prejudicial to its interests. “Any intervention at this stage would deprive the person belonging to the OBC community for five long years, which by no stretch of logic can be said to be a short period…” the Centre said. The top court had on December 17 stayed elections to OBC category seats noting that the triple test laid down by it before provisioning such quota has not been fulfilled and directed that the elections proceed only after the said seats are renotified as general category ones. The Centre has also sought impleadment in the matter in which the apex court had passed the order on December 17. On December 17, the apex court had referred to the Constitution Bench verdict of 2010 which had mentioned the 'triple test' condition, including setting up a dedicated commission to conduct a contemporaneous rigorous empirical inquiry into the nature and implications of the backwardness of the targeted communities before reservation of seats for them in the local bodies. The bench was hearing an application filed by Manmohan Nagar, the president of Bhopal District Panchayat, in connection with a petition filed by him before the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Mr.Nagar had approached the high court challenging the constitutional validity of the Madhya Pradesh ordinance –Madhya Pradesh Panchayat Raj and Gram Swaraj (Amendment) Adhiniyam – published on November 21, 2021. His plea contended that the ordinance was violative of Article 243-D which makes provision for reservation of seats for SCs, STs and women in the panchayats at all levels on a rotational basis. However, the ordinance had done away with the requirement of rotation by reserving seats – which had been reserved earlier for a category – again for the same category. With the high court declining interim relief, Nagar approached the Supreme Court, which on December 15 noted that he had not challenged the December 4, 2021 State Election Commission notification on the polls and asked him to approach the High Court. The government finally mentioned hat it be made a party in the matter “so that necessary assistance may be given to this Hon’ble Court on the larger issue of implementation of OBC reservation in all the local body elections in the country.”