Jogi, Boria communities to get OBC status as Commission adopts pro-active approach

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU Aug 17: After a long wait of more than two decades,  underprivileged Jogi and Boria communities are all set to get the status of Other Backward Classes as the J&K State Commission for Backward Classes is learnt to have recommended for the same by adopting a  pro-active approach.
According to the official sources, the Commission has recommended to the State Government the case of Jogi/Nath as well as Bouria/Boria/Bowaria communities for their inclusion in other backward classes by amending sub rule c (i) of rule 4 of J&K Reservation Rules 2005 and adding these communities as Other Social Castes (OSCs) in the State.
Recommendation of the  Backward Commission is binding on the State Government, which is ought to accept the same and issue necessary notification for inclusion of  these two communities in Other Social Castes  thus making them eligible for the reservation benefits, extended by the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir to OSCs  in the State, sources added.
The Jogi/Nath community used to earn their livelihood by singing religious hymns (Karks) of various Kuldevs and then collecting offerings of the clans to their deity. Their population is around 50 thousand and as per their occupational as well as economic status, they are not very well off.
Similarly, Bouri/ Boria/ Bowaria community members used to work as manual labourers in the vegetable/ fruit mandis of the State and most of them have been living in extremely poor and unhygienic conditions in the areas around these markets.
Even as the process for inclusion of both the communities for their inclusion in Other Social Castes was initiated in 1996 and objections from general public, if any, were also invited through notices in the newspapers by the Commission for Backward Classes, there was no further progress on the same because of slackness on the part of then concerned   authorities.
“It is unfortunate that the Deputy Commissioners of various districts did not show the official courtesy to reply resulting into huge information gap despite so many years,” observes the Commission, which adopted its own procedure for identification of such classes of the people in the State.
“Keeping in view the bureaucratic inertia, the Commission adopted its own procedure as observed in the case of Indra Sawhney versus Union of India in AIR 1993, according to which neither the Constitution nor the Law prescribes the procedure or method of identification of backward classes and nor it is possible or advisable for the court to lay down any such procedure or method. It must be left to authority appointed to identify. It can adopt such method/procedure as it thinks convenient and so long its survey covers the entire population, no objection can be taken to it,” observes the SCBC report in its recommendation.
The Commission examined the available records in accordance with the laid down criteria for identification of such classes of the people. Especially the reports of Deputy Commissioner Jammu were examined, according to which they were rated as “Lower Class”.
After taking into consideration all the facts as well as statements of the concerned persons and the documents available in its office, the Commission has finally recommended to the State Government the cases of Jogi/Yogi/Nath as well as Bouria/Boria/Bowaria communities for inclusion in Other Backward Classes.
When contacted, Chairman of the Backward Classes Commission, Jeet Lal Gupta confirmed that a recommendation in this connection has been made to the State Government thus ending a long wait for justice very soon to both the underprivileged communities in the State. “We are in the process of identification of more such underprivileged communities, who may come forward with their claim to get OBC status for examination of the same by the Commission,” he added.