New Delhi: The Union Cabinet approved a proposal on Wednesday to abolish the Constitutional provisions that guarantee reservation of two seats for the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha, while extending the reservation of Schedule Castes (SC) and Schedule Tribes (ST) by 10 years.
The reservation for SC and ST communities in the Lower House of the Parliament and the state legislative assemblies was to expire on January 25, 2020.
The Indian Constitution explicitly lays down that 84 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 47 for Scheduled Tribes out of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha. Additionally, the President of India nominates two members from the Anglo-Indian community, making it a house of 545 members.
Article 331 of the Constitution says, “the President may, if he is of opinion that the Anglo-Indian community is not adequately represented in the House of the People, nominate not more than two members of that community to the House of the People."
During the first term of the Modi government, two members from the Anglo-Indian community were nominated to the Lok Sabha. However, there have been no nominations yet for second term and reportedly the provisions for reservation for members of the Anglo-Indian community have been done away with “for the time being”,
A panel, comprising Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot, decided on the move, Hindustan Times reported.
The panel drew a conclusion that the community was doing well and did not need reservation. However, the reservation can be reconsidered later, if need be, the report said, adding that reservation for the Anglo-Indian community in the state assemblies guaranteed under Article 334 could also be withdrawn.
Article 334 of the Constitution says the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the representation of the Anglo-Indian community by nomination in the Lok Sabha and in the Legislative Assemblies shall cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of thirty years from the commencement of Constitution.
On Wednesday, while briefing the media regarding the Centre’s move to extend the reservation of SCs and STs, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the details of the bill concerning the reservation of Anglo-Indian community will be known once it is introduced in the Parliament.