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After reservation demands, Karnataka to set up high-level panel under retired HC Judge

Along with retired judge, the committee would comprise a former administrator and a social scientist who will be given a comprehensive report, said Law and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: March 5, 2021 8:15:38 am
Bengaluru: Members of the Panchamasali (Lingayat) community during a rally demanding for the inclusion of Lingayat community in the 2A reservation category, in Bengaluru. (PTI Photo)

The Karnataka Cabinet on Wednesday decided to constitute a three-member high-level committee headed by a retired high court judge to look into demands by various communities in the state for revising the existing reservation and advise the government.

Along with retired judge, the committee would comprise a former administrator and a social scientist who will be given a comprehensive report, said Law and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

“Various communities have been pressing for revising their existing reservation and conceding it would lead to the quota exceeding the 50 per cent limit set by the Supreme Court. If it has to be exceeded, special criteria have to be identified. To guide the government on this constitutionally and legally difficult subject, it has been decided to constitute the committee,” Bommai said.

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is given the authority to make appointments to the committee by the cabinet. “The retired judge will look into legal and constitutional aspect while the retried administrator will go into administrative aspect. At present demands by some communities were with the Backward Classes Commission and some others at the stage of anthropology study,” he said. “Once constituted, the committee will decide on the time frame,” he added.

Presently, Karnataka provides 15 per cent reservation for Scheduled Castes, three per cent for Scheduled Tribes, and 32 per cent for the other backward classes (OBC), which adds up to 50 per cent.

The Veerashaiva-Lingayats, are demanding OBC status under the central list, whereas the sub-sect of the community Panchamasali Lingayats wants to be put under Category 2A (15 per cent) in the state quota. Yediyurappa belongs to the Veerashaiva-Lingayat community.

Vokkaliga community, the other dominant community in the state has decided to seek enhancement of reservation, the formation of a Vokkaliga Development Authority and greater quota access to the urban poor from the community and also they want all Vokkaliga sub-sects to be included under the OBC.

Meanwhile, the backward Kuruba community is seeking an ST tag, the Valmiki community wants the ST quota to be hiked from 3 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

The state government has already asked the Backward Classes Commission to look into the reservation demand of Panchamasali community to be included in category 2A of OBC reservation matrix. It is currently included under 3B (five per cent).

The leaders of the Kuruba community, seers and leaders of Panchamasali Lingayat community took out padayatra to Bengaluru demanding reservation recently. Panchamasali Lingayat community’s demand has been referred to the State backward classes commission. An anthropological study is underway to look into the Kuruba demand, according to the minister.

Last year, Justice Nagamohan Das Committee had submitted a report to the government. According to sources, it has recommended increasing reservation for SCs from 15 per cent to 17 per cent and STs from 3 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

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