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Ahead of 2018 Polls, Siddaramaiah Moots Raising Caste Quotas to 70%

The demand comes just days after the Narendra Modi government appointed a commission to sub-categorise OBC quota to ensure more equitable distribution of the reservation pie.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:October 6, 2017, 4:10 PM IST
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Ahead of 2018 Polls, Siddaramaiah Moots Raising Caste Quotas to 70%
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. (Network18)
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Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will seek amendments in the Constitution to increase the limit on reserved quotas from the existing 50 per cent to possibly 70 per cent, he indicated on Thursday.

Speaking at the Valmiki Jayanthi celebrations, he said the recent socio-economic surveys seemed to warrant such an increase in tune with the population.

The demand comes just days after the Narendra Modi government appointed a commission to sub-categorise OBC quota to ensure more equitable distribution of the reservation pie.

Reservations include different categories such as SC, ST, OBC and minority communities and apply to government jobs and admissions to educational institutions.

"I have requested the Backward Class permanent commission to look into the matter. After they submit their report, we will look at making such a recommendation (to the Centre). The commission has to look into provisions of the Constitution and other aspects," he told News18 later.

Asked whether this can be done at the state or central level, he said, "I want the government of India to bring this amendment to the Constitution."

Siddaramaiah's statement is being seen as Congress's counter move to challenge the BJP's attempts to mobilise a large section of non-affluent backward communities. Ahead of Assembly elections slated in mid-2018, Siddaramaiah's stand is being seen as a counter to the BJP and has been criticised as an election gimmick by some BJP leaders too.

Premila Nesargi, lawyer and BJP leader, said such a proposal would be against the Constitution.

"The Supreme Court has said reservations cannot exceed 50 percent.... Is this CM above the Supreme Court," she asked.

Reservations for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes were implemented by the VP Singh government by an executive order in 1990.

The decision was challenged and later upheld by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court which put a 50% cap on total reservations in jobs and education.

This cap has, however, been exceeded by some states like Tamil Nadu which have 69% reservations. The state governments have done this by putting the quota statutes in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution whereby providing immunity to these laws from judicial reviews — a fact pointed out by Congress spokesperson Brijesh Kalappa.

"Many other states have also exceeded that limit. The SC put that limit many years ago and things have changed since then. The CM's statement is based on population demographics," he said.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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