Both houses of Telangana legislature on Sunday (16 April) passed a bill to hike the reservation quota for backward Muslims and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) to 12 and 10 per cent respectively.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) convened a special assembly session on Sunday, a holiday, to pass the bill through a voice vote, reported Srinivasa Rap Apparasu for Hindustan Times. Five BJP MLAs were also suspended from the assembly for creating ruckus in the day.
Under the bill, quota for STs would rise to 10 per cent from the current 6 per cent, while that for the backward sections among the Muslim community would rise to 12 per cent from the current 4 per cent. As a result, total reservation would rise to 62 per cent from the current 50 per cent – the Supreme Court’s ceiling for such benefits.
Except for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which opposed the bill, the entire Opposition supported the Backward Class, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Reservation Bill, 2017.
Offering his reasoning for the bill, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has been quoted by the Hindustan Times report as saying, “After the bifurcation of the combined Andhra Pradesh state, the percentage of Muslims in Telangana has gone up and 90 per cent of them are poor and socially backward. Hence, we have decided to increase the quota for Muslims, treating them as OBC (other backward class).”
The BJP yesterday (17 April) said the bill was “trash paper”, reported PTI, and that it would be “quashed” at the central government level. Spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao reportedly said, “Religion cannot be a basis for reservations, and legally its not viable as both high court and Supreme Court has capped reservation at 50 per cent.”
The local BJP unit will reportedly go to court challenging the bill. There are also plans for a “massive agitation” against reservation for Muslims. The BJP is, however, ready to accept an increase in reservation for the STs.
In March, KCR had said that he would lead an all-party delegation to New Delhi to urge the centre to include the quota hike legislation in the Constitution's 9th Schedule, as was done in the case of Tamil Nadu, where the overall quota for various groups is 69 per cent.
With Inputs From ANI.
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