SC declines to allow plea against quota for ZP posts in state

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a bunch of petitions challenging the Karnataka rules pertaining to the reservation of the posts of president and vice president of zilla panchayats (ZPs) in the state.

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer dismissed the plea made by Janata Dal (S) leader Latha and others. “You have gone to the high court which had dismissed your petitions...we don't find any reason to interfere with the HC's order,” the bench said.

Latha and others, who were elected members of Hassan ZP, had challenged the Karnataka High Court's order of January 6, 2017. The high court had dismissed their plea for quashing the April 15, 2016 notification by the state government.

The petitioners had sought direction to strike down the Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Zilla Panchayat Reservation for the post of President and Vice President) Rules for being “illegal and arbitrary”.

Senior advocate Basava Prabhu Patil, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the reservations for the post of president and vice president in ZP has to be made on a rotation basis in order to give due representations to all.

Secondly, the reservations have to be done, taking into consideration the population of a particular caste or category, he said. Patil also pointed out that in Hassan district, the Scheduled Tribes people were about 0.08% but the post of ZP president was reserved for ST (woman) candidate, though it should have gone to the SC  category. This was in violation of Article 243 D of the Constitution, he said.

The petitioners also claimed there were at least seven other ZPs, which according to the ST population ranked above Hassan.

These ZPs are Chikkaballapur, Dharwad, Gadag, Bengaluru (Rural), Chikkamagaluru, Bengaluru (Urban) and Vijayapura. But the state government arbitrarily fixed reservation for the ST (woman) category for Hassan ZP, just to make mala fide political gain and, in complete breach of rules.

Patil also submitted that the high court, among others, held that since a matter pertaining to the 2010 notification on the reservation was pending before the apex court, it decided not to intervene in the similar issue raised by the petitioners. The Supreme Court, however, was unmoved and declined to allow the plea by the petitioners.

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