Himachal HC passes interim order staying notification granting tribal status to Hatti community.
The Himachal Pradesh government on Monday issued a notification granting Scheduled Tribe status to the Hatti community of Sirmaur district’s Transgiri area.
Himachal HC passes interim order staying notification granting tribal status to Hatti community
Shimla: Barely three days after the state government issued a notification granting tribal status to the Hatti community, Himachal Pradesh High Court on Thursday issued an interim order staying the notification.
Passing an order on a bunch of petitions, a division bench of Chief Justice MS Ramachandra Rao and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua said prima facie there appears to be ‘manifest arbitrariness and glaring unconstitutionality in the impugned law’.
The Himachal Pradesh government on Monday issued a notification granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Hatti community of Sirmaur district’s Transgiri area.
Members of the community had been demonstrating against the state government over not implementing the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Act, 2023, and notifying the community as a Scheduled Tribe.
The high court bench said there exists a balance of convenience in favour of the petitioners and irreparable injury is likely to be caused if the interim relief is not granted.
The court then stayed the notification till March 18.
Hearing pleas challenging the Scheduled Tribe status for the Hatti community filed by the Gigiripar Anusuchit Jaati Adhikar Sanrakshan Samiti and the Gujjar Kalyan Parishad, the high court clubbed the petitions and passed the interim order.
However, it clarified that the observations or findings recorded are only prima facie and tentative and shall not have any bearing during the final hearing.
The high court expressed the view that ‘if interim orders are not granted, tens of thousands of ST certificates would be granted, reversal of which would be difficult’.
Referring to a communication dated December 30 by the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs, allegedly
clarifying that ‘Hatti’ refers to permanent residents of the Transgiri area of Sirmaur district that
excludes the communities notified as Scheduled Castes (SCs), the high court said, “We are baffled as
to how the (Union) Ministry of Tribal Affairs could have given such an advice without Parliament
making the said exclusion under clause (2) of Article 341 of the Constitution in the list of SCs
mentioned in the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950.”
“Thus, all the above facts and circumstances show prima facie that there is manifest arbitrariness in
including the SCs, OBCs (Other Backward Classes) and dominant castes like Rajputs and Brahmins
of the Transgiri region in the list of STs notified by the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950,
and prima face it appears that Parliament has acted capriciously, irrationally and/or without
adequate determining principle,” the bench noted.
The petitioners’ counsel contended that the Scheduled Caste community of the region has
historically benefitted from reservations in education and employment and they would lose the
benefit both in the state and nationally.
It was also contended that of the four assembly constituencies of the Transqiri region, two are
reserved for Scheduled Castes on grounds of the community’s existence in the area.
The court noted the contention that under Article 332 of the Constitution, these two reserved seats
would now be eliminated and added that these concerns of the Scheduled Caste community cannot be ignored.
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