Hyderabad: Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has vowed to bring in a special legislation on the lines of Tamil Nadu to give 12 per cent reservation to the Muslim minority in the state.
He also reiterated his commitment to increase the reservation for the Scheduled Tribes [STs] to 12 per cent.
He was speaking after Sudhir Committee and Justice Chalappa Commissions submitted their reports on the socioeconomic backwardness of Muslims and the STs after extensive survey.
The reports were handed over to the chief minister in sealed covers and they will be first presented before the cabinet followed by moving a bill in the state Assembly.
KCR said, “In view of the educational, social and economic backwardness of the Muslim community, it is inevitable to provide them reservation to improve their condition.”
He said that Telangana has a big population of the weaker sections and there was a need to uplift them by enhancing their reservation.
Muslims in the state presently have 4 per cent reservation in jobs and education from 2007 while they form 13 per cent of the population. STs on the other hand have 6 per cent reservation.
However, reservation for Muslims is facing a legal challenge and the matter was pending before a constitutional bench. But the court has refused to stay the reservation and the minorities continue to enjoy its benefit.
In 2014 elections, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti [TRS] had promised to increase the reservation for Muslims and STs to 12 per cent each.
Referring to the argument that as per the Supreme Court ruling the government cannot cross the limit of total 50 per cent quota,
KCR said that Tamil Nadu has up to 69 per cent reservation and his government will also follow the same example.
“The state government will take its cue from Tamil Nadu in providing 12 per cent reservation for Muslims in accordance with their population ratio. We will enact a new legislation akin to Tamil Nadu law to increase the total
per cent of reservation in the state.”
The Tamil Nadu government had got the Constitution amended to pave the way for maximum 69 per cent reservation and the matter was now pending before Supreme Court for final verdict.
On STs, he said the there were provisions in the Constitution to give reservation to communities proportionately to their population.
He said that in united Andhra Pradesh, STs had only 6 per cent reservation and STs in Telangana region had suffered as their population here was more. “Now we will provide them reservation proportionate to their population,” he said.
However, legal experts say that the reports submitted by the government-appointed committees will not be enough for the state to legislate for 12 per cent reservation. Citing the Andhra Pradesh High Court orders quashing the 5 per cent and 4 per cent reservation for Muslims in 2005 and 2010, the division benches had ruled that without the recommendation of the Backward Classes Commission, the government cannot give reservation to any section.
Government sources said that the chief minister was considering the idea of constituting a new BC Commission to go into the issue of Muslim backwardness.
All moves to give more reservation to Muslims in the past had faced stiff political opposition from the BJP and its affiliates. In fact, in 2005 and 2010 too, leaders of the BJP and its affiliates who had filed the writ petitions against it.
Significantly, senior high court advocate Ramakrishna Reddy who had opposed the reservation for Muslims as the counsel for the petitioners is now the Advocate General of Telangana and he will be tendering the legal opinion to the state government on the Sudhir Committee report and the next course of action.