In an apparent setback to UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav ahead of the UP Polls, the Allahabad High Court has stayed the UP government’s proposal to include 17 sub-castes in the Scheduled Caste (SC) category. The proposal for the same was made public in December last year. The 17 sub-castes to be included in the SC category were Kahar, Kashyap, Kewat, Nishad, Bind, Bhar, Prajapati, Rajbhar, Batham, Gaur, Tura, Majhi, Mallah, Kumhar, Dheemar and Machua.
The proposal was cleared by the State Cabinet, which was led by Akhilesh Yadav. After the proposal was approved by the state cabinet, it was sent to the Center for approval by parliament. The proposal had attracted criticism on several fronts, with many saying that it was a political gimmick just before the UP Polls. Bahujan Samajwadi Party leader Mayawati had said that the proposal was a “mere drama”.
The Allahabad High Court today issued its order, directing the UP government to ensure that no new caste certificates are issued to the people of the 17 sub-castes listed in the proposal. The decision was announced by a division bench comprising Chief Justice D B Bhosle and Justice Yashwant Verma. The order was passed, while responding to a public interest litigation filed by a Gorakhpur-based organization Dr Ambedkar Granthalaya Evam Jan Kalyan Samiti. The petition had challenged the UP government’s decision to include the 17 OBC groups in SC category. The court has also asked the state government to file its counter-affidavit within two weeks.