Karnataka: High Court Stays Vokkaliga-Lingayat Reservation Rejig By State Government

Karnataka: High Court Stays Vokkaliga-Lingayat Reservation Rejig By State Government

by Ksheera Sagar - Friday, January 13, 2023 03:35 PM IST
Karnataka: High Court Stays Vokkaliga-Lingayat Reservation Rejig By State GovernmentHigh Court of Karnataka. (Wikimedia Commons).

Karnataka government's decision to provide for a separate OBC category for Vokkaligas and Lingayats has been halted by an interim stay order, by the state High Court.

The government had announced reservation for the Lingayat and Panchamasali communities on the last day of the recently held Belgaum Assembly session.

On 29 December, it was decided to re-categorise these communities within the Other Backward Class (OBC) fold and move them from the 'backward' to the 'moderately backward' category.

This was in response to the demands from a Panchamasali sub-sect of Veerashaiva Lingayats, who sought inclusion in the 2A category, which has a 15 per cent quota, from their present 3B category which has a 5 per cent reservation quota.

As per the government's announcement, Vokkaligas were to be included in the newly created 2C category, with 4 per cent reservation, while Panchamsali Lingayats would be in a newly created 2D category, with 5 per cent reservation. The existing categories of 3A and 3B would be done away with, as announced.

Said to be based on the recommendations of the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, though this announcement was seen as a major attempt to woo the two largest vote banks in the run-up to the elections, dissent had risen from other communities, as well as, from Panchamsalis, who insisted on availing 2A category reservation.

Panchamsalis form almost 50 per cent of the total Lingayat community which is 18 per cent of the total population of the state, as reported. Their demand was for inclusion in 2A category which is 'more backward' and thereby entitled to 15 per cent reservation in education and employment.

A resident of Bengaluru D G Raghavendra filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions from the court against granting reservation under 2A category to Panchamsalis.

A division bench headed by Karnataka Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale was hearing the matter where the petitioner contended that the interim report had not been placed before the court, despite an order and that the government had given to 'extra-constitutional' pressure in this regard.

The matter will next be heard on 30 January until when status quo shall be maintained, as ordered.

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