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29 March 2023: Karnataka govt. scraps Muslim quota of 4%, increases quota of Lingayats and Vokkaligas by 2% each

Context: The quota under the newly-created categories of 2C and 2D among backward classes for Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats has been increased from 4% to 6% and 5% to 7%, respectively.

Background: 

  • The Karnataka government has scrapped the 4% reservation given to Muslims under the 2B Other Backward Classes (OBC) category and distributed it to two dominant communities—VVeerashaiva-Lingayats and Vokkaligas—aat 2% each in jobs and admissions to educational institutions.
  • With the State Cabinet decision, the quota under the newly-created categories of 2C and 2D among the backward classes for Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats has increased from 4% to 6% and from 5% to 7%, respectively.
  • For Muslims, it was said that they are economically backward and therefore should compete in the 10% pool created under the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quota.

Historical perspective of reservation in Karnataka

  • Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, during his tenure as Chief Minister of Karnataka in 1995, provided 4% reservation for Muslims under category 2B in the OBC quota, which has now lapsed.
  • In the cabinet meeting held during the winter session in December 2022, based on the interim report submitted by the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, the creation of new categories 2C and 2D for Vokkaligas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats, respectively, was approved.
  • The Panchamasalis sub-sect among Lingayats, which is the largest section among the Veerashaiva-Lingayats, has been demanding 2A status for the community for a long time. The cabinet has refrained from touching Categories 1 or 2A.
  • With Friday’s decision, OBC reservation has been kept at 32%, SC at 17%, and ST at 7%, totaling 56%. In addition, there is an EWS quota of 10%. Those not covered under SC/ST and OBC reservations are eligible for quotas under the 10% EWS quota as per economic criteria.

Quota marking for SC/ST

  • The government has decided to implement enhanced reservation for SC and ST in recruitment.
  • At the same time, the Karnataka government has recommended to the Center that it include it in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution to save it from legal challenge.
  • Arguing that there cannot be any reservation on the basis of religion, he said that the OBC reservation had not been revised for the last 20 years, adding that the Andhra Pradesh High Court had struck down the religion-based reservation.
  • Dr. B.R. He said that even Ambedkar, the chairman of the drafting committee of the Constitution, had said that reservation should be based on caste and not on the basis of religion. He argued that economically backward Muslims would now get reservations under the EWS quota in a “large pool” of 10%.