The Supreme Court today rejected a plea to stay Centre's poll-eve notification to include the Jat community in the OBC list for providing the benefits of reservation, saying there are prima facie material for taking the decision.
"On going through the document we are prima facie satisfied that it cannot be contended there is no material for taking the decision (to include Jats in OBC list)," a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said.
"Before expressing any opinion, for further consideration we direct the Centre to file counter-affidavit in three weeks," the bench also comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said.
After posting the matter for next hearing on May 1, the bench said,"We are rejecting the request for stay."
Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for OBC Reservation Raksha Samiti - an organisation of members of Communities which are included in the Central List of Backward Classes, alleged that the March 4 notification was issued a day before the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into force and it was done by the party in power to garner votes.
However, the bench said it cannot come in the way of the government taking a decision a day before the MCC came into force.
"Government is a government. We can't say, you can't do. Till one day before (the MCC), they can take a decision," the bench said.
Venugopal submitted the party in power took the decision for private gain.
Pursuant to the court's April 1 order, the Centre today placed before the bench all materials/documents and files, including the decision of the Union Cabinet, on the issue of considering the inclusion of Jats in the OBC list.
The bench asked senior advocate K Parasaran, appearing for the Centre, that all the materials placed before it should be filed in the form of counter-affidavit.
"We want to know what is the basis for this order (for including Jats in OBC list)," the bench said.
Parasaran submitted that the reasons are there in the records.
On April 1, the apex court had asked the Centre why it allegedly ignored the advice of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) to keep the Jat community away from reservation benefits.
The court had also said that "the matter is serious" and had directed the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to place before it all the material, records and files