The Karnataka government on Monday decided to inform the Supreme Court that it favoured increasing the cap on reservation beyond the 50% ceiling, PTI reported. The state’s decision was in response to the court’s query on the restructuring of quotas.
In a landmark judgement in 1992, the Supreme Court had capped reservation at 50%. However, while hearing a petition related to reservation for Marathas in education and jobs, the Supreme Court issued a notice to all states, seeking their response on whether quota should be allowed beyond the limit. The court said that it will examine whether the 50% rule needs to be reconsidered.
The Karnataka government’s decision was taken in a Cabinet meeting presided by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, sources in the state Secretariat told The Hindu. On March 13, Karnataka’s Law and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai had said in the Legislative Assembly that it was “inevitable” to go beyond the 50% cap in order to meet the demands of various castes.
The Yediyurappa-led government is likely to cite constitutional amendments, changes in related laws by states and changing social dynamics, in its arguments to the Supreme Court, PTI reported. Karnataka at present provides 15% reservation for Scheduled Castes, 3% for Scheduled Tribes and 32% for the Other Backward Classes (OBC), which add up to 50%.
Dominant communities like the Panchamasali, a sub sect of Lingayats, Vokkaligas, Valmikis and Kurubas have sought a higher quota and a change in category among other requests, according to the Hindustan Times. The SCs have demanded an increase in their quota from 15% to 17% and the STs from 3% to 7.5%, PTI reported.
Five other states – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand – have also decided to ask the Supreme Court to increase the cap on reservation, the Hindustan Times reported.