Bill passed by the State Assembly follows recommendation by Sudheer Commission. Quota for Scheduled Tribes also goes up to 10% from existing 6%.
By A Staff Writer
Hyderabad: In a historic move, the Telengana Assembly passed a bill reserving 12% seats in educational institutions and Government services for Muslims. The bill raised the reservation from previous 4% to 12% equivalent to the community’s share in the State. The bill simultaneously enhanced the reservation for Scheduled Tribes from 6% to 10%. The Government headed by Telengana Rashtra Samiti had promised to raise the reservation for the Muslims in its manifesto, two years ago. The Congress and the Communist Party Marxist supported the bill.
The bill was moved following the recommendation by a commission set up by the Government which presented its report in December 2016. The Commission headed by retired IAS officer, Mr G. Sudheer had recommended that the Muslim community could be given reservation from 9 to 12% as all indices pointed to its being extremely backward and below State average in terms of education and employment. It had even recommended that certain communities within Muslims like Mehtar (scavengers) could be included among Scheduled Castes.
The commission had found that 82% of the Muslim population was already categorized as backward.
The Commission of Inquiry found that the Muslim community has been left behind in overall development and its share in government services had dwindled. Telengana State is no exception to this rule, it said. The share of Muslims in administrative state services like IAS, IPS and IFS is negligible. The Commission received nearly 50,000 representations from several groups, NGOs and individuals focusing on the situation of the community.
The share of Muslim employees in the state is only about 7.36% of the total employees, while the share of Muslims in total population in the state in 12.68%; as such it can be said that Muslims in the state are underrepresented in government services. The Commission had also recommended setting up an Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) in the State to ensure justice to all communities in various opportunities and elimination of discrimination.
The Commission found that underrepresentation of Muslims is acute in departments of administrative services, Home, education and welfare where there are large numbers of employees or the departments which are strategic in nature. These four sectors/departments are crucial for inclusive development and have relatively higher underrepresentation of Muslims.
Muslims in government employment are mostly last cadre employees and very few are gazetted officers.
The Bill will still have to be referred to the Central government to bring it under the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution by using powers under 31 (B) of the Constitution to protect the laws made by State Legislatures like it was done in the case of the Tamil Nadu government Reservations Bill in 1992. Parliament, through a special Act, will have to give such protection.
The present 4% reservation for Muslims, provided during Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy’s tenure, was challenged in the courts. A Supreme Court bench referred the matter to the Constitutional Bench seven years ago. That Bench is yet to be constituted. Reservation is being allowed to be continued subject to the final verdict.
The Supreme Court has held earlier that any increase of reservation quota beyond 50% cannot be permitted.