HC notice to State on plea challenge new law enhancing limit of reservation to 56% from 50% in govt jobs and admission to educational institutes

Published - February 23, 2023 10:28 pm IST - Bengaluru 

The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday ordered issue of notice to the State government on a petition questioning the constitutional validity of the Karnataka Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Act, 2023.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi passed the order on the PIL petition filed by 24-year-old Mahesh who is pursuing law course in KLE Law College in Bengaluru.

The main contention of the petitioner is that the 2023 Act increased the limit of reservation to 56% from 50%, which is permissible as per the provisions of the Constitution and the law declared by the apex court stating that reservation under Article 16 cannot exceed 50%.

The decision of the State to enhance reservation to 17% from the earlier 15% for the SCs and to 7% from the earlier 3% for STs does not pass the test of extraordinary circumstance to increase reservation as the increase in the reservation was made contrary to the exception carved out by the apex court, the petitioner has claimed.

Increasing reservation for SCs and STs has no rational explanation when lakhs of jobs reserved for SCs, STs, and Other Backward Classes in the Union and State governments, and the public sector undertaking are lying vacant for years, the petitioner has claimed. 

The petitioner has pointed out that a similar law enacted by the State of Chhattisgarh enhancing the limit of the reservation to 58% has been struck down by the Chhattisgarh High Court terming the new law as unconstitutional and violative of the law declared by the apex court on limit of reservation. 

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