Karnataka eyes Schedule 9 route to breach 50% quota ceiling | India News indiabusinessport.com

BENGALURU: With an eye on polls next year in Karnataka, the state government decided on Friday to increase quotas for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (SC/STs) by 2% and 4%, respectively, after seeking a constitutional amendment. This would take reservations in the state beyond the 50% quota cap to 56%.
CM Basavaraj Bommai said a special cabinet meeting on Saturday will take a formal decision.
“We’ll take a call whether to adopt a resolution in the assembly or pass a bill. Since we are trying to increase reservation for SCs-STs beyond the 50% ceiling, the existing quota of other backward communities will remain the same while it’ll eat into the general category space to some extent,” state law and parliamentary affairs minister JC Madhuswamy said.
Currently, Karnataka provides 32% quota for OBCs, 15% for SCs and 3% for STs, which adds up to 50%. The only way for Karnataka to hike the SC/ST quota is via Schedule 9 of the Constitution, which protects laws included in it from judicial scrutiny.
Agreeing that if reservation exceeds 50% the courts will take exception, Madhuswamy said some states have exceeded the ceiling and there is a provision under special circumstances. “We’ll introduce it under Schedule 9 because it has judicial immunity. Tamil Nadu did it under Schedule 9 to increase reservations to 69%. We’ll recommend to the Centre to amend the Constitution,” he added.
While CM Bommai and his Cabinet colleagues were confident of convincing the Centre to amend the Constitution, legal experts said it’s easier said than done.
“Karnataka’s reservation is already on the verge of collapse, and it will be difficult to restructure quotas. If they have to do it, they will have to reduce the OBC quota by 6 percentage points, which nobody will tolerate. So, to exceed 50%, it must be done via Schedule 9, which looks next to impossible under the prevailing political situation in the country,” a former advocate general said.
CS Dwarakanath, former chairperson, backward classes commission, said it is very difficult for the Centre to oblige the state’s request for a constitutional amendment and include it in Schedule 9.

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