Following an all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai concluding with a consensus on increasing reservation for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), the State Government in principle agreed to increase the existing quota by 2% for SCs and by 4% for STs in Karnataka.
Emerging out of the meeting, Mr. Bommai said while a committee headed by retired High Court judge Nagmohan Das had recommended increasing reservation for SCs from 15% to 17%, and for STs from 3% to 7%.
Following a consensus at the all-party meeting on increasing the quota, the government in principle decided to increase the quota for SCs from 15% to 17% and for STs from 3% to 7%.
Participants in the all-party meeting discussed recommendations of both committees and unanimously decided to increase the reservation for SCs and STs. A Cabinet meeting would be called on October 8. The order for increasing the quota for SCs and STs would follow, Mr. Bommai said.
In the Indra Sawhney case, the Supreme Court restricted the reservation to 50%.
Currently, Karnataka provides 32% reservation for OBCs, 15% for SCs and 3% for STs, totaling 50% as capped by the Supreme Court.
Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy said since the decision is expected to come under legal scrutiny, the State Government would explore alternatives, such as either introducing a Bill in the winter session of the legislature in December or the State legislature passing a resolution unanimously.
The State Government would seek more than 50% reservation under Scheduled 9 of the Constitution through a constitutional amendment, to get immunity from a legal challenge, on the lines of the Tamil Nadu Government, which has increased reservation up to 69%.
“By sending recommendations, we will urge the Central government to introduce a constitutional amendment to increase reservation for SCs and STs,” Mr. Madhuswamy said.
However, both Mr. Bommai and Mr. Madhuswamy said the decision to increase the SC and ST quota would not reduce the percentage of quota of OBCs and other groups in Karnataka. All recommendations of the Nagmohan Das committee were accepted at the all-party meeting, which was attended by Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy, and senior Ministers.
Mr. Bommai said demands of other communities seeking an increase in reservation have been referred to the State Backward Classes Commission. The government will take a decision after considering all aspects since the courts have been reviewing issues related to reservation, Mr. Bommai said.
Earlier, the BJPs’ core committee meeting extended support to the recommendation to increase the quota for SCs and STs.