Karnataka

Bhakthavatsala Commission recommends 33% quota for OBCs in ULB polls in Karnataka

The panel suggested that the aggregate of reservation of seats in favour of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and OBCs should not exceed 50% of the total seats.

The panel suggested that the aggregate of reservation of seats in favour of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and OBCs should not exceed 50% of the total seats. | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

A commission headed by K. Bhakthavatsala, former judge of the Karnataka High Court, to study suitable political representation for other backward classes (OBCs) in urban local body (ULB) elections on Thursday submitted a report to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and recommended reservation of 33% of the total seats in favour of OBCs (including minorities) in ULB elections.

However, it suggested that the aggregate of reservation of seats in favour of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and OBCs should not exceed 50% of the total seats.

The commission suggested bringing all ULB election wings under the control of the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms.

SC directive

The commission has been constituted following a Supreme Court instruction in a case related to ensuring suitable representation for backward classes in panchayat raj institutions and ULBs. The issue was discussed at the all-party meetings held on March 23 and 31 and it was decided to hold the elections to these institutions only after making provision for reservation for these communities.

Key recommendations
Reserve 33% seats for OBCs, including minorities, in ULB elections
Ensure aggregate of all reservation of seats does not exceed 50%
Bring all ULB election wings under the control of the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms
Make term of office of Mayor and Deputy Mayor 30 months in all city corporations like in BBMP
Provide OBC reservation for office Mayor and the Deputy Mayor in BBMP

Noting that 44.4% of total population in Karnataka belonged to OBCs (including minorities), the commission said: “The State in its wisdom and authority”, had adopted the castes listed as OBCs for the purpose of education and employment, for purpose of political reservation on the ground that they are socially and politically backward in the State.

The commission, therefore, said reservation of 33% of the total seats, in favour of OBCs in ULB elections was based on OBC population and empirical data. "Hence, we hold that the reservation of 33% of the total seats in the local body elections in the State in favour of OBCs is justifiable," the commission said.

It said persons belonging to the minority community other than the Muslim community were not able to avail themselves of the benefit of political reservation in local body elections.

For the purpose of reservation of seats in education and employment, only Muslim community had been listed in "Backward Classes" Category-A. The empirical data revealed that the Muslim community had been given representation in the local body elections held in 1996, 2001, 2010, and 2015, it said.

Term of Mayor

It recommended amendment to Section 10 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations (KMC) Act, 1976, regarding the term of office of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for 30 months in all city corporations as provided in the case of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of BBMP under the BBMP Act, 2020.

It recommended amendment to Section 10 of the KMC Act, 1976.

“As per Section 57 of the BBMP Act, 2020, the term of office of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor is 30 months, from the date of election. But, according to Section 10 of the KMC Act, 1976, the term of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor is 12 months. Therefore, Section 10 of the KMC Act requires it to be amended,” it said.

The commission recommended reservation of office of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor in BBMP in favour of persons belonging to OBCs.

The commission said that the Section 10 of the KMC Act, 1976, provided reservation for the persons belonging to the OBCs falling under the Category-A and B, to the extent of one-third of the total number of offices of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, in the State. "But, Section 58 of the BBMP Act, relating to reservation of seats, in favour of OBCs, to the office of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor is silent," it said.

An anomaly

The commission noted another interesting fact that the definition of the backward classes of BBMP Act does not refer to Category-A and B of OBCs, as notified by the Urban Development Department. But, in the provision 1, 2 and 3 of sub-section 3 of Section 8 of BBMP Act, makes a reference about backward classes Category-A and B.

The commission was constituted on May 8, 2022. Retired IAS officer C.R. Chikmath was the member of the commission.


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Printable version | Jul 22, 2022 12:44:39 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bhakthavatsala-commission-recommends-33-quota-for-obcs-in-ulb-polls-in-karnataka/article65667056.ece