Bengaluru, Karnataka’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has taken a major step just months before the assembly elections. The state government has decided to increase reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) in the state through constitutional amendments.
The government passed this decision on Justice H.N. Nagmohan Das Commission report has been taken up accordingly. The report recommended increasing the reservation for SCs from 15 percent to 17 percent and the reservation for STs from 3 percent to 7 percent.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced this after presiding over an all-party meeting. Leaders of Congress and Janata Dal (S) also participated in this meeting. He said reservation for SC/ST communities on the basis of population has been demanded for a long time.
The recommendations of the Justice Nagmohan Das Commission were discussed and approved in an all-party meeting today.
Earlier this was discussed in our party (BJP). In this discussion it was decided to maintain our commitment for the welfare of SC/ST. A cabinet meeting will be called on Saturday and a formal decision will be taken in this regard.
There was heavy pressure from SC/ST MPs to implement the commission’s reports on the Bommai government. Along with this, Acharya Prasannananda Swamy of Valmiki Gurupith is also on hunger strike demanding increase in ST reservation limit.
The opposition parties, especially the Congress, have been attacking the state government for the delay in taking action. The commission gave its recommendations to the government in July 2020. After some judgments of the Supreme Court regarding reservation, the state government ordered Justice Subhash B. to implement the recommendations of the law and the constitution. A committee was formed under the chairmanship of Adi. The committee later submitted its report.
After studying both the reports, the government wanted to take everyone into confidence before taking any decision on any issue related to law and the Constitution, Bommai said. So an all-party meeting was called. Currently, Karnataka provides 32 per cent reservation for OBCs, 15 per cent for SCs and 3 per cent for STs i.e. a total of 50 per cent.
Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Siddaramaiah, another former chief minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy also attended the all-party meeting. If the reservation exceeds 50 percent, the courts will object. Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy said that the Supreme Court has decided that the reservation in states should not be more than 50 percent but some states have crossed this limit. There is provision to do so in special circumstances. We will present it under Ninth Schedule as it has judicial exemption, he said.
Tamil Nadu has raised the upper limit of reservation to 69 percent under the Ninth Schedule itself. We will recommend the central government to amend the constitution.
Some people are looking at this decision through political glasses as assembly elections are due in about 6 months. Siddaramaiah appealed to the central government, if the government is really concerned about these communities, issue an ordinance to further increase the quota for SC/ST after the recommendation of the state. Bommai said the decision to increase the SC/ST quota will not reduce the quantum of reservation for any community. There is a total of 50 percent reservation for various communities in the state.
The decision taken today is more than the 50 percent limit recommended by the Justice Nagmohan Das Committee. He said, ‘The decision to give 10 percent reservation for economically weaker sections has already been taken. Who do not have reservation under law but have been challenged in Supreme Court and decision is awaited.SS2MS