Omit politically forward castes from BC list: HC

The court also directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to issue the calendar of events for the Zilla and Taluk Panchayat elections after December 10.

Upholding the single judge order of November 19, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice A S Bopanna asked the SEC to complete the election process before January 16 next year. The Bench also directed the State to consider the representations of the petitioners to identify the most politically backward classes afresh.

The Bench, directing the government to exclude the politically advanced classes from the backward classes reservation list, observed: “There would be no difficulty in arriving at the conclusion that some of the castes declared backward in the State of Karnataka are certainly not ‘politically backward.”

It further said: “It would be legitimate for the State government to exclude all the known, accepted and acclaimed “politically advanced” castes from the lists of backward classes for the purpose of reservation in the upcoming panchayat elections.”

The Bench further wondered what would befall the State if a few politically advanced castes were excluded from the list of backward classes.

“Could it be that the castes holding the reins of power in the State of Karnataka desire the benefits of reservation to continue for members of their own caste,” it asked.

“Democracy being one of the basic structures of the Constitution of India cannot be allowed to be faltered so as to suit the needs of one or the other, including those who presently rule the State. We, therefore, direct the State government to examine the issue afresh, and before the calendar of events for the panchayat elections is issued, to exclude at least those classes which are political advanced from the backward classes list,” the Bench said.

However, the court granted the State government the liberty to go ahead with the existing reservation list if it is unable to handle the matter.

Upholding the single-judge order regarding the elections, the Bench termed as a lame excuse the State’s contention that postponement of elections would amount to financial loss.

Terming the State government’s decision to reject the representations of the petitioners requesting to identify the most politically backward classes as an action without application of mind, the Bench directed it to reconsider the representation.

‘Sub-committee to study court order’

The State Cabinet on Thursday decided to constitute a sub-committee to study the High Court order on reservation for backward classes in the Zilla Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat polls and recommend its next course of action to the government.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Medical Education Minister V S Acharya said the committee will submit its recommendations to the Cabinet on Monday next. The committee would suggest whether the government should file an appeal or identify the most politically backward classes in the State. The committee will be headed by Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Jagadish Settar and will comprise ministers Suresh Kumar, R Ashoka and C H Vijayshankar.

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