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Karnataka Cabinet approves proposal to hike SC, ST reservation

The government will resort to Schedule 9 of the Constitution to implement the hiked quota to avoid judicial scrutiny as the total reservation figure will go beyond the 50 per cent cap to 56 per cent.

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai interacts with BJP Karnataka President Nalin Kumar Kateel and BJP National General Secretary CT Ravi during the party's State Executive Committee meeting, in Bengaluru, Friday, Oct. 7, 2022. (PTI Photo)

The Karnataka Cabinet Saturday gave its formal approval to the proposal to hike reservation for scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) communities in government jobs and educational institutions.

A government order detailing the modalities of the reservation will be issued soon followed by a gazette notification. Karnataka decided to hike the quantum of reservation for SCs from 15 to 17 per cent and for STs from three to seven per cent Friday after an all-party meeting.

After this hike, the total reservation in the state will be 56 per cent. Previously, Karnataka had 50 per cent reservation, of which 32 per cent was for OBCs (other backward classes), 15 per cent for SCs and three per cent for STs.

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Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the decision of the state government will get legal protection if the hiked reservation is included under Schedule 9 of the Constitution. “…the Law Department, Law Commission, (and) constitutional experts in consultation with the Advocate General will make a recommendation (to the Central government) and try to implement it,” he said.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister JC Madhuswamy said a government order regarding the matter was likely to be issued in two to three days.

Notably, the state government had hiked the reservation after being under tremendous pressure, especially from the Valmiki community. The decision is also significant as elections are due in the state in 2023, with the BJP trying hard to retain power.

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Politically significant

A formal decision on increasing the reservation for SCs from 15 per cent to 17 per cent and for STs from 3 to 7 per cent will be taken in the Cabinet meeting on Saturday. It will then be discussed in the December session of the Assembly. The move is significant ahead of the state elections next year. Other than the demand from Opposition parties, the Bommai government was under pressure from SC/ST lawmakers to implement the commission’s report. Also, ‘Valmiki Gurupeetha’ seer Prasannananda Swami has been on a hunger strike demanding the ST quota hike.

The Karnataka government has decided to hike the reservation for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities in the state by seeking a constitutional amendment. A formal decision in this regard will be taken in the Cabinet meeting on Saturday.

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After chairing an all-party meeting on Friday, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said reservation for SCs will be increased to 17 per cent from the existing 15 per cent, and from three to seven per cent for STs. The meeting was attended by the leaders of the Congress and the JD(S).

First published on: 07-10-2022 at 05:32:05 pm
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