Cabinet nod to extend SC/ST reservation in Lok Sabha

Amid concerns over BJP's perceived preference for review of the reservation policy, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to extend the reservation for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies for another 10 years.

The reservation for these categories in the LS and the assemblies was to expire on January 25, 2020.

According to the law, 84 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 47 for Scheduled Tribes. In addition, the government nominates two members from the Anglo-Indian community to the Lok Sabha, making it a house of 545 members.

The Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved a bill to extend the reservation in Lok Sabha and state assemblies for a period of 10 years.

While reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the legislature is carried out through constitutional amendments, similar reservation in jobs for these categories is decided by respective state governments.

According to the Ministry of Law and Justice, Article 334 of the Constitution lays down that the provisions of the Constitution relating to the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the representation of the Anglo-Indian community by nomination in the Lok Sabha and in the Legislative Assemblies of the States shall cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of thirty years from the commencement of the constitution.

Although the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes have made considerable progress in the last thirty years, the reasons which weighed with the Constituent Assembly in making provisions with regard to the aforesaid reservation of seats and nomination of members, have not ceased to exist.

Article 334 of the Constitution had originally required the reservation of elected seats to cease in 1960, but this was extended to 1970 by the 8th Amendment.

The article has been amended from time to time, with the last changed being done through the 95th amendment in 2009.

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