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The Bombay High Court on Thursday questioned the Maharashtra government as to how a Government Resolution (GR) providing 1% reservation to minor orphans under 18 years of age in educational institutions could be extended for jobs in public employment
“An orphan is a child and they are under 18 years of age. They may get reservation in the education field but how about jobs? How can they be employed before the age of 18? That is illegal. Reservation is sought for a particular class of children who are orphans…,” the bench orally remarked.
The bench requested Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to appear in the matter on the next date of hearing. A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja was hearing a PIL by Pune-based social worker Amruta Karwande, an orphan herself, and Solapur resident Rahul Kamble, challenging the Government Resolution of August 23, 2021, which categorised the orphans into sub-categories and said the same was not in accordance with the definition of orphans as per the 2015 law and earlier GRs passed by Department of Women and Child Development
On August 23, 2021, the state department had issued a GR providing 1% reservation for orphans in education and public employment as they have to face several difficulties in life because of lack of parental support.
The PIL pointed out that while the orphan reservation scheme was to provide benefit to the needy orphans, the impugned GR categorised the orphans into three categories. The first category consisted of children having no parents, siblings or close relatives and being taken care by the orphanage. The second category was of orphans who have lost their parents but information about their caste and relatives is available and whose responsibility of foster care is with the orphanage. The third category included those children who have lost their parents, but the responsibility of their care is on the relatives who are alive and their caste is known.
The PIL, argued through advocate Metanshu Purandare, sought to rectify the impugned GR by which the state government issued clarifications for its orphans reservation scheme. As per a 2018 Cabinet resolution, the government provided 1% reservation to orphans in the open category in the field of education and public employment and the same was given on the ground that orphans could not avail caste benefits or other benefits after they leave children’s homes.
The plea claimed the reservation was initially only for those orphans with orphan certificates and whose documents did not mention caste, and there was no information on their parents or relatives.
However, the petitioners said the replies they availed on their applications seeking information under the Right to Information Act revealed that the children belonging to the third category availed maximum benefit in most districts of the state, while the scheme was crucial and mainly formulated for children belonging to the first category.
Therefore, the PIL sought that the impugned GR be quashed and set aside, the state government asked to come up with a fresh GR to ensure the scheme would benefit the most needy orphans.
Originally published at Indian Express
How can 1 per cent reservation be provided for minor orphans in jobs, Bombay High Court asks AG
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