STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur on Friday issued notices to Secretary Law, Secretary Social Welfare and BOPEE in petition titled Nikhal Pakhru and others versus State of J&K and others, filed by petitioners belonging to Gaddi and Sippi tribes viz. Hindu Scheduled Tribes, challenging Rule 13 of the J&K Reservation Rules. Advocate Ankur Sharma appearing for the petitioners submitted that Rule 13 unconstitutionally does sub classification within the ST category allegedly on communal grounds. “Out of a quota of 11 per cent earmarked for STs, 9 per cent is given to Muslim STs, 1 per cent to Buddhist STs and meager 1 per cent to Hindu STs”, he added. Sharma argued that such a sub classification is hit by Article 14 of the constitution as it creates a class within the class. He further argued that Rule 13 is a class legislation contemplated by the J&K Government purely on communal grounds and is hence is unconstitutional. “Constitution of India contemplates ST as a one unit, a monolith and creating further classes within a class for the purpose of reservation is constitutionally blasphemous”, he submitted. Upon this, the court observed that the counsel for the petitioner has stated that the petitioners belong to Gaddi Tribe, which has been declared as Scheduled Tribe (ST) and the community is entitled to 1 per cent reservation under the J&K Reservation Act of 2004. “The petitioners have challenged the Rule 13 of the J&K Reservation Rules, 2005 on the ground that the method and manner of prescribing percentage of reservation amongst Gujjars and Bakerwals, residents of District Leh and Kargil etc is bad and illegal and ultra-vires the constitution, inasmuch as, there cannot be any sub-classification of categorisation for purposes of reservation under the ST category. It is in those premises prayed that pending disposal of the writ petition, at least one seat be reserved for the petitioner, who secured 380 points in the NEET examination as against respondents, who secured 378 and 241. The prayer for grant of any interim relief at this stage in favour of the petitioners cannot be granted for simple reason that the petitioners ought to have approached this Court well in time to question the vires of Rule 13. It is not out of place to mention here that Rule 13 of the Reservation Rules was framed as early as in 2005 and the process of selection in BDS/MBBS course was initiated on June 11, 2019. According to the schedule issued by the Medical Council of India, the process of admission has to come to an end by August 31, 2019. Any order restraining the official respondents from filling one seat under the ST category would have the effect of making the aforesaid one seat go waste, inasmuch as, considering the issues involved, the matter cannot be decided within the aforesaid period”, the court observed. With these observations, the court rejected the plea for grant of any interim relief at this stage.
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