Ordinanace to be resent to Guv

Govt wants to safeguard interests of backward classes, claims minister

The governor had returned the earlier ordinance maintaining that promulgating it might lead to further legal hurdles and would delay elections to local bodies.

The Cabinet, convened to discuss the future course of action, resolved to reiterate its request before the governor. Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister Suresh Kumar told reporters that the government would send the ordinance again with a note stating that in view of safeguarding the interests of backward classes, promulgation of the ordinance was necessary.

Amendment to Act

The government on October 4 had promulgated an ordinance bringing an amendment to the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, which restricts total reservation of seats in zilla panchayat and taluk panchayat to 50 per cent.

This was in coherence with a Supreme Court order. However, the government realised that the amendment would cut down representation of backward classes in the panchayat bodies and that such a decision would brand the BJP anti-backward classes.

Yielding to pressure from the party MLAs and ministers, the government sent in an ordinance to withdraw the previous ordinance so that reservation pattern in the panchayat bodies remain as it was in the 2005 elections to Panchayat bodies. The governor, in his reply, said that the ordinance promulgated on October 4 has not been discussed in the legislature. The proposed ordinance seeks to negate the changes made in pursuance of the judgment of the Supreme Court with respect to Dr K Krishnamurthy and others versus Union of India.

“The government has not put on record any proper legal advice from the Advocate General, giving proper analysis of the issues and implications of the proposed ordinance in the context of the above cited decision of the Supreme Court. In the absence of any material I see no justification to differ with the judgement of the Supreme Court,” he said.

The government does not want to react to the argument that the proposed ordinance goes against the Supreme Court ruling. Suresh Kumar said: “More than adhering to the Supreme Court ruling, our concern is to safeguard  the interests of the backward classes,” he said.

Reduced drastically

The ordinance promulgated on October 4 cut down representation of backward classes in the panchayat bodies drastically. The total number of seats for OBC in ZPs would come down from 334 (33.23 per cent) to 225 (22.21 per cent), while in TPs it would fall from 1,232 (33.35 per cent) to 750 (20.5 per cent). The implementation of the amendment as proposed in the ordinance had far reaching adverse impact on empowerment of backward classes.

The minister said he would meet the governor if necessary to persuade him on this issue. He also appealed to leaders of Opposition parties to appeal to the governor to give his assent to the ordinance so that interests of backward classes safeguarded.

With the turn of events the elections to the panchayat bodies might be delayed. The State Election Commission cannot workout ward-wise reservation unless there is a clarity on reservation of seats.

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