‘Quota can’t exceed 50%‘; T‘gana withdraws plea

HYDERABAD: on Friday withdrew its plea for enhancement of reservations for BCs, SCs and STs in and other local bodies after the Supreme Court refused to allow the state to enhance the quota beyond 50%.

The state was seeking permission for 34% reservations for BCs, 24% to SCs and 9% to STs in the ensuing sarpanch elections as well as in all other panchayati raj and local body elections, taking the total quantum of quota to 67%.

Telangana was contending that such a permission was essential for them as the population of BCs, SCs and STs is higher in Telangana.

The SC bench of Justice RF Nariman and Justice KM Joseph told the Telangana counsel that under no circumstance can the state cross the 50% cap fixed earlier by the apex court. Telangana then withdrew its plea seeking permission for quota enhancement.

It may be recalled that the Hyderabad high court had earlier made it clear that all quotas put together cannot exceed 50% as per the judgement of the Supreme Court.

With this, the state will have no other option but to put pressure on the Centre to bring in a legislation that allows the Centre and states to increase quotas.

‘Quota should be proportionate to population’

As that would take a lot of time and the sarpanch and local body elections are already due, the state will have no option but to reduce BC reservation from 34% to 17%, because the reservation for SCs and STs cannot be reduced as the quota accorded to them is in proportion to their population as mandated by Article 243 of the Constitution.

It was unified that first brought an enhanced quota of 34% for BCs in local bodies in 1994. It was implemented in Andhra and Telangana regions till 2013. But later, legal challenges cropped up and, in the meantime, the Supreme Court too gave a judgment fixing an upper ceiling of 50% on the quantum of all quotas.

Article 243 (f) of the Constitution says that the political space for SC and STs should be provided in tune with their population. In fact it mandates that the space should be in proportion to the latest census figures of their population. Hence the only area where the state can intervene is BC reservations, observers say.
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