Governor returns panchayat raj ordinance again

Governor returns panchayat raj ordinance again

Speaking to reporters in Davangere, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa expressed displeasure over the governor’s move and said it amounted to showing disrespect to a Cabinet decision.

The Karnataka Panchayat Raj (second amendment) ordinance, 2010, promulgated on October 4, restricted the total reservation of seats of SC/ST/OBC to 50 per cent.
Seeking the governor’s approval for repealing amendments was as per a November 9 Cabinet decision on Opposition’s criticism of reduction in the  OBC quota.

Bhardwaj had first returned the file asking for an explanation from the government regarding the legal implications of reversal of the changes. Following this, a special Cabinet meeting was convened on Friday, where it was decided to resubmit the ordinance to the governor.

Bhardwaj on Saturday sent back the State’s plea, this time with a note that the government should get the changes approved by the legislature.

Apex court verdict

The governor, in his note, pointed out that a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the K Krishnamurthy Vs Union of India case had stipulated that reservation in panchayats cannot exceed beyond 50 per cent.

“I have no dispute insofar as the commitment expressed by the government to empower weaker sections of society as recorded by the Cabinet.

“But I remind the government that the State has to secure the welfare of weaker sections of society without violation of the law laid down by the apex court of the land,” Bhardwaj said in his note.

The governor also said the plea of the government did not include advice of the Advocate General or the law secretary.

“I find that it is a fit case where the government should discuss the amendment on the floor of the legislature rather than impressing upon the Governor to commit a serious Constitutional impropriety by means of promulgating an Ordinance under Article 213(1) of the Constitution,” he added.

The governor’s move has left the government with no option but to conduct the zilla and taluk panchayat polls with the 50 per cent cap on reservations, said Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Shettar. Holding the elections with the October 4 ordinance will mean the number of seats reserved in various zilla panchayats for OBCs will come down from 334 to 225. In case of taluk panchayats, the number will tumble down to 750 from 1,232.

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