Revised: Himachal High court stays ST status to Giripar ‘Hattee’, citing irreparable injury
Shimla, Jan 4,
“Irreparable injury- We are also of the view that if interim orders are not granted, tens of thousands of ST certificates would be granted, reversal of which would be difficult. A fait accompli would happen because final hearing of the Writ Petitions cannot be done without pleadings being complete, and since this Court is closed for the winter break till 25.2.2024, there is a possibility of these CWPs being practically rendered infructuous,” directed the court in a 44 paged order.
The Himachal Pradesh High court in an Interim order on Thursday stayed the Central and State government (s) notifications extending schedule tribe status to Hattee community. The petition being heard by the division bench of Chief Justice M. S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua in which both the notifications, September 2022, as well as the State government notification issued on January 1 has been stayed.
The interim stay has been granted by the High court till March 18, 2024, when the matter is listed for replies.
The court further noted, ” For the aforesaid reasons, prima facie there appears to be manifest arbitrariness and glaring unconstitutionality in the impugned law.” The bench added,” There exists balance of convenience in favour of petitioners in CWP.NO.8103/2023 and CWP.No.9528/2023, and irreparable injury is likely to be caused if the interim relief is not granted, CMP.No15611/2023 in CWP.NO.8103/2023 and CMP.NO17653 /2023 in CWP.No.9528/2023 are allowed and the implementation of the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Orders ( Second Amendment) Act,2023 as well as the Letter TBD(F) 4-1 /2023 dt.1.1.2024 of the Tribal Development Department of the Govt. of Himachal Pradesh are stayed till 18.03.2024,” noted the division bench.
Also stating,” …We hasten to add that the observations/findings recorded are only prima facie and tentative and they shall not have any bearing at the final hearing of these matters.”
Noteworthy that after notification of ‘Giripar’ hatti as a scheduled tribe, the ‘giripar anusuchit jaati adhikari sanrakshan samiti and Gujjar Kalyan Parishad moved high court in separate petitions against the notification. Later both these petitions have been clubbed and the interim order passed.
The petitioners have sought to quash Presidential order passed in Month of August 2023 to amend Schedule caste and Schedule Tribe Act to include Hattee community in the schedule list.
The Gujjar community had plead that ‘Hattee’ community mentioned Schedule Tribe does not meet the criteria for being granted ST status, being no revenue mention of any such community in the ethnic and community records. Besides this many criteria for granting ST status including educational, economic backwardness, ethnic group, etc was not fulfilled before extending constitutional amendments by the Union of India.
The petitioners have been contending that they are opposing the decision because by granting ST status to Hattee community, the people belonging to lowest caste will now have to compete with the affluent people by sharing the reservation quota with well off.
Even the Giripar Anusuchit Jaati Adhikari Sanrakashan Samiti has challenged the provision of reservation to the ‘Hatti’ community of the Transgiri area. In their petition, have claimed that there is no tribal ‘Hattee’ tribe in the state, and the rights of reservation were granted to Rajput and high-caste Brahmin in the name of ‘Hattee,’ which is not found as a homogeneous recorded community.
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