Hyderabad: The stage is set to introduce and pass the Muslim Reservation Bill in the current Assembly session. The newly appointed Backward Class Commission has been asked to submit its report to the Chief Minister within the next few days.
According to sources, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has decided to introduce and pass the Muslim Bill before the end of the current session i.e. January 11.
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 Chief Minister had promised 12 per cent reservation to backward Muslim communities and had appointed the G. Sudheer Commission to look into all aspects of the matter. The Commission has submitted a voluminous report and recommended reservation for these sections.
When it was brought to the notice of the state government that a Backward Classes Commission recommendation is necessary for adopting the Bill, the government very recently appointed the commission, headed by social activist B.S. Ramulu.
“So far we have held five days of meetings, invited all sections to represent the matter and received 50,000 representations,” one of the members of the BC Commission said.
Legislation in current session
“So far we have held five days of meetings, invited all sections to represent the matter and received 50,000 representations and now we are finalising our report,” one of the members of the BC Commission told Deccan Chronicle.
The BC Commission has relied on the Sudheer Commission report for most of its findings. “The Sudheer Commission report was exhaustive. All material evidence showed that most Muslim communities are backward, and it obtained information from official records. As such, there is no need for us to go to the districts to collect fresh information. We can append the Sudheer Commission findings also in our report,” said the BC Commission member.
Meanwhile, as per the Chief Minister’s directive, a senior official in the Secretariat was vested with the responsibility of preparing the Bill to increase reservation for Muslims.
“I cannot rule out the possibility of bringing in the legislation in the current session. We are preparing the Bill; as and when we get clearance, it will be sent to the cabinet for approval,” said the official.
According to a minister, once the BC Commission report reaches the Chief Minister, he will convene the cabinet to approve the report, and again for approving the draft bill, which will be introduced in the House.
- The present four per cent reservation for Muslims, provided during Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy’s regime, 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 per cent cannot be permitted.
- The Supreme Court, while taking up the legal validity of Article 31 (B), and protecting laws passed by State Legislatures under the Ninth Schedule, especially in a case challenging 67 per cent reservation implemented in Tamil Nadu, had made it clear that it has every authority to decide the legality of the said action.