The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday cancelled all Other Backward Classes certificates issued in West Bengal after 2010, Live Law reported.

Nearly five lakh certificates are likely to be affected, according to Live Law.

A division bench of Justices Tapabrata Chakraborty and Rajasekhar Mantha was hearing a petition challenging the process of granting Other Backward Classes certificates under the West Bengal Backward Classes (Other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) (Reservation of Vacancies in Services and Posts) Act, 2012.

“We strike down the section 16 of the Act of 2012 since it empowers [the] state executive to amend any schedule of the Act of 2012,” Bar and Bench quoted the bench as saying. “Consequently, the 37 classes included under exercise of section 16 are struck out.”

The bench, however, clarified that the judgement would not affect those who have already availed reservations using the caste certificates issued under the section.

It also stated that the executive orders of the state government classifying 66 groups as Other Backward Classes before 2010 were not challenged in the petition and hence, were not interfered with.

The court directed the state’s Backward Classes Welfare Department to place a report, in consultation with the Backward Classes Commission, before the Legislature. The report is expected to include recommendations about the inclusion of new classes or for exclusion of remaining classes in the state Other Backward Classes list.

Won’t accept judgement, says Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she would not accept the High Court’s judgement and the Other Backward Classes reservation will continue in the state as is, PTI reported.

“We had drafted the Bill after conducting a house-to-house survey, and it was passed by the Cabinet and the Assembly,” Banerjee said during a Lok Sabha elections rally in the Dum Dum parliamentary constituency.

Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress was in power in the state in 2012.

She added: “The BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] has conspired to stall it by using central agencies. How can the saffron party show such audacity?”

Eight constituencies in West Bengal will head for polling in the sixth phase of the general election on May 25 and nine in the final phase on June 1. The remaining 25 constituencies voted in earlier phases.