The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued a stay on the Haryana government’s approval to the reservation to Jats and four other communities. The move came after a PIL challenged the state government’s order stating that quota decision taken in March was “arbitrary and malafide”.

The bill was challenged by petitioner Murari Lal Gupta who filed the PIL. The two bills including Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Bill, 2016 and Haryana Backward Classes Commission Bill, 2016 were introduced by chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar in the state assembly on March 29 and was passed unanimously.

The bills propose reservation for Jats and five other castes including Jat Sikh, Ror, Bishnoi, Tyagi and Mulla Jat/Muslim Jat by forming a new classification Block ‘C’ in the Backward Classes category. The bill was passed by the governor on April 1.

The high court has issued notices to the Haryana government to respond to the challenge to the Jat quota law. The government has to respond on July 21 which is the next hearing date in the case.

The bill was introduced by the state government following Jat agitation in Haryana in February that caused the death of 30 people, injuries to 320 others and huge damage to property across the state, especially in Rohtak district.

A senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Haryana said they will first go through the order of Punjab and Haryana high court and only then they will be in a position to comment on the order.

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