Reservation Current Affairs

Cabinet approves commission on sub-categorisation of OBCs

The Union Cabinet approved a proposal for setting up of Commission under article 340 of the Constitution to examine the issue of sub-categorization of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

The Commission shall be known as the Commission to examine the sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBCs). It will submit its report within 12 weeks from date of appointment of the Chairperson.

Terms of references of Commission

The Commission will examine the extent of inequitable distribution of benefits of reservation among the castes included in the broad category of OBCs, especially with reference to the OBCs included in the Central list. It will work out the mechanism, norms, criteria and parameters, in a scientific approach, for sub-categorization within such OBCs. It will also take up the exercise of identifying the respective castes/sub-castes/communities synonyms in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.

Background

The Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney and others vs. Union of India case (1992) had observed that there is no Constitutional or legal bar on states for categorizing backward classes as backward or more backward. It had also observed that it is not impermissible in law if a State chooses to do sub-categorization. So far, 9 states/UTs viz., Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Jharkhand, Telangana, Puducherry, Wst Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have already carried out sub-categorization of OBCs. There is no sub categorisation in the central list.

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Telangana passes bill to hike reservations for Muslims and STs

The Telangana legislature has passed the Telangana Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Bill, 2017, that seeks to raise substantially the reservation for backward Muslims and scheduled tribes.

The new legislation will increase the reservation for socially and educationally backward Muslims from the existing 4% to 12% and for Scheduled Tribes from 6% to 10% taking the total quotas in government jobs and educational institutions in the state much beyond the 50 % ceiling set by the Supreme Court. The total quota in the state will now increase to 62%.

The bill will now be sent for obtaining President’s assent. Since the reservation goes beyond the 50% ceiling set by the Supreme Court, the state government wants the centre to include the bill in the 9th schedule of the Constitution which will preclude a judicial review. States like Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand already have reservations totalling more than 50 percent.

Reservation bills included in 9th Schedule of the Constitution protects it from judicial review. Ninth Schedule contains more than 250 legislations receiving protection from the judicial scrutiny. With the burgeoning laws which are placed under the Ninth Schedule, it has today become a constitutional dustbin and house for every controversial law passed by the government. For example, former PM Indira Gandhi made amendments to the Representation of Peoples Acts of 1951 and 1974 and placed in the Ninth Schedule along with the Election Laws Amendment Act, 1975 to make her election valid.

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