Telangana govt promotes ordinance restricting gram panchayat reservation for ST/SC groups to maximum of 50%

Hyderabad: The Telangana government has promoted an ordinance restricting reservations to a maximum of 50 percent for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes to enable conduction of elections to panchayat raj institutions in the state.

The Telangana Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018, was signed by Governor ESL Narasimhan on Saturday.

"In pursuance of the judgments of the Supreme Court, the upper ceiling of 50 percent vertical reservations in favour of SCs/STs/OBCs should not be breached in the context of local self-government," reads the new "Chapter-VIII-A" inserted in the ordinance.

File image of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. News18

File image of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. News18

"Accordingly, the seats and offices to be reserved for Backward Classes shall be so determined duly keeping in view the requirement of reservation in respect of SCs, STs therein, that the total number of seats/offices reserved for the SCs, STs and Backward Classes (BCs) shall not exceed 50 percent of the total number of seats or as the cases may be, in the respective local bodies, in the manner prescribed," it said.

The Hyderabad High Court had directed the Telangana government to complete the election process for the members of gram panchayats and the offices of the sarpanch in the gram panchayats within three months from 11 October.

The term of the local bodies ended on 1 August this year.

The state government then moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to enhance the total quota to 67 percent, beyond the 50 percent ceiling fixed by the top court, which was rejected.

The government wanted to raise the total quota percentage in proportion to population of the backward classes in the state.

Earlier, the Telangana Panchayat Raj Act-2018 enacted by the state legislature provided reservations of seats and offices in gram panchayats, mandal praja parishads and zilla praja parishads in favour of members belonging to Scheduled Tribes/Scheduled Castes on the basis of their proportionate percentage in population, to the total number of seats and offices.

The Act also provided that the number of seats and offices reserved for Backward Classes shall not be less than 34 percent of the total number of offices of the members in such Panchayat Raj bodies in the state.

The Telangana Assembly was dissolved in September this year before the expiry of its term. In the assembly elections on 7 December, the ruling TRS under K Chandrashekar Rao retained power.

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Updated Date: Dec 18, 2018 09:25 AM

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