Bengaluru: The Basavraj Bommai-led Karnataka government decided to promulgate an ordinance increasing the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) reservation in the State on Thursday. The Cabinet, on October 8, had accorded its formal approval to increase the SC/ST quota. The ordinance, once promulgated after the Governor’s assent, will increase reservation for SCs from 15 to 17 per cent and for STs from 3 to 7 per cent.
This will, however, take the reservation tally in Karnataka to 56 per cent, above the 50 per cent cap fixed by the Supreme Court in the Indira Sawhney judgement. Hence the government would recommend bringing the quota hike under the 9th Schedule of the Constitution to give it legal protection, in the days to come.
“Following the decision to enhance the SC/ST reservation, we introduced a bill to this effect before the cabinet, and it was decided to send it to the Governor to promulgate an ordinance,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said after the cabinet meeting.
The government had earlier decided to issue an executive order hiking the quota. “We had earlier felt that executive decision would be enough, but later realised that if it is questioned in court of law, it may lead to issues, so we have decided to bring in an ordinance,” the Minister said in response to a question.
“The ordinance justifies the hike in reservation with a detailed note citing various sections of the Constitution,” Madhuswamy said.
“We have stressed that there were only six castes in Karnataka under SC earlier, to which now 103 castes, nomads and slum-dwellers have been added, so the population has enormously raised, and as the Constitution calls for adequate representation we will have to give about 17 per cent reservation for SCs, hence the decision,” he explained.
Similarly, following the inclusion of various communities like Nayakas and Naiks to ST, there is enormous addition to their population, and as they account to about 7 per cent, their reservation has been hiked accordingly, he added.
The decision to increase SC/ST quota was following the recommendation from a commission headed by a retired judge of Karnataka High Court Justice H N Nagamohan Das.