Bill on SC, ST backlog vacancies tabled in LS

NEW DELHI, MAY 8. The Government introduced in the Lok Sabha today a bill seeking to amend the Constitution in order to get over the ceiling imposed by the Supreme Court on reservation for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes relating to ``backlog vacancies''.

The Constitution (Ninetieth Amendment) Bill 2000 would make it possible for the Government to treat the backlog for a particular year as a separate category of reserved quota putting it beyond the pale of the 50 per cent cap on SC/ST reservation. The court ruling that the total reserved quota should not exceed 50 per cent in a year included the backlog.

The decision to amend the Constitution followed a strong demand from various organisations, including political parties, which contended that clubbing the backlog with the existing vacancies adversely affected the SC/ST interests. They demanded that the status quo ante as it existed before the 1997 Supreme Court ruling be restored.

The statement of objects and reasons, attached to the Bill, recalls the circumstances in which the Government issued a memorandum on August 29, 1997 to implement the SC judgment that the overall quota, including the backlog, should not exceed 50 per cent.