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Hike in quota for Muslims: KCR faces legal, political battle

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on March 28, 2017

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had made a poll promise of 12 per cent reservation to Muslims (file photo)

BJP miffed over religion-based reservation; apex court may insist on 50% cap

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s (KCR) steadfast resolve to pave the way for separate quota for Muslims under backward classes is fraught with several challenges, including hiking the reservation cap and getting over legal hurdles.

On the last day of the ongoing Budget session of the State Assembly, KCR announced that a special session would be convened within a week to pass the Quota Bill, much to the displeasure of BJP members, who have been articulating against reservations based on religion in the past too.

BJP leader Kishan Reddy said: “BJP will fight politically and legally against this religion-based reservation. This is an effort to extend reservations to Muslims on the lines of Tamil Nadu.”

He sought to know whether by bringing Muslims under the backward category, KCR is doing good or bad to the BCs.

It is not clear at present if the quota will be increased to 9 or 12 per cent from the existing 4 per cent now. The Backward Classes Commission set up by the State had recommenced 9 per cent.

KCR had said he plans to take up the issue with the Centre and the Supreme Court after the passage of the Quota Bill. The earlier reservation issue is pending in the Supreme Court.

While the CM said this is based on socioeconomic issues and backwardness rather than on religious grounds, the BJP sees this as a move to provide a religious twist in a different form.

Referring to Tamil Nadu, where reservations go well beyond the 50 per cent cap, KCR believes a big chunk of population in the State (above 50 per cent) are economically backward.

During elections, he had promised to provide 12 per cent reservation to Muslims in educational institutions and employment in government. Telangana has a 12.7 per cent Muslim population as per the 2011 census.

Andhra Pradesh, before the bifurcation, had extended 4 per cent reservation for Muslims. This was sought to be hiked to 5 per cent by the late YSR Reddy government but was struck down by the High Court, as it violated the 50 per cent cap on reservations.

The matter is now under the consideration of the Supreme Court and till the final verdict, 4 per cent reservation is permitted in both the States.

In the backdrop of the 50 per cent cap, the proposed move to extend 12 per cent reservation promises a long-drawn political issue.

To achieve this, the KCR government would have to cross two major hurdles — one, a legal battle in the Supreme Court and two, managing to get the Centre’s concurrence on crossing 50 per cent reservation.

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Published on March 28, 2017
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