Welcome Move, But…
The raising of reservation quota for Muslims—from existing 4% to 12%— and for the scheduled tribes from 6% to 10% should be welcomed by all sections committed to justice and fair deal for the underprivileged communities. It is a significant milestone in the development of the community which had witnessed a severe decline of fortunes ever since the end of the rule of the Nizam in Hyderabad. The Government of Chief Minister Chandrasekhara Rao deserves kudos for the initiative after having realized that the erstwhile ruling class deserved affirmative action in order to regain some of the lost ground.
But mere passing of the Bill in the Assembly does not complete the process. There may be hurdles ahead. Since the quota limit has exceeded the 50% limit fixed by the Supreme Court in its 1994 ruling, it will require the Central Government to bring it under Ninth Schedule of the Constitution to allow the quota in the State to exceed the prescribed limit as was done in case of Tamil Nadu through 78th Amendment and bar the judicial review. This might be a cumbersome process, given the current Central dispensation which is unfavourably disposed towards the minorities.
Plight of Muslims and their underrepresentation in the vital sectors of governance and administration caught the official eye in Hyderabad only after the bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh. While the Congress paid only lip sympathy during its 1948-82 reign in the State, the Telugu Desam had shown deep antipathy to the community’s plea for reservation. However Congress chief minister Y. S. Reddy Government brought in 4% reservation through a bill which was challenged in a court due to insufficient homework by way of a sound investigation but continued to be implemented. The current move is though backed by the findings of the Sudheer Commission Report and betrays the sincerity of the TRS Government, but may not find clearance from the Centre.