Telangana legislature 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 Telangana legislature 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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