On Monday, the Andhra Pradesh high court ruled against a government order that gave a staggering 59.85 per cent reservations to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in the local body elections in the state which are scheduled to take place later this month.
The high court bench comprising of chief justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari and judge Nainala Jayasurya ordered that the total percentage of reservations in the local bodies should not exceed 50 per cent, consistent with the Supreme Court directions in the past.
Back in November, a government ruling fixed 34% reservations for OBCs, 19.08% for SCs and 6.77% for STs. This was challenged by B Pratap Reddy through a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed in Supreme Court last month. Following this, the SC referred the PIL to the Andhra Pradesh high court.
The high court ordered that the government to decide on a new pattern of reservations for the weaker sections of the society that does not exceed the upper limit of 50 per cent fixed by the top court. The order also added that the decision should be taken within a month and take up the election process after four weeks.
Advocate General S Subrahmanyam had contended to allow quota beyond 50 per cent under special circumstances. However, the court did not agree to this and said: “There are no special circumstances in the state now."
State municipal administration minister Botsa Satyanaryana said that the government shall abide by the court's verdict and not permit reservations to cross the upper limit of 50 per cent.
However, he said put the blame on the Telugu Desam Party led by N Chandrababu Naidu for the court's decision and said hat the petitioner was a TDP sympathiser and the opposition did not want increased quota for SCs, STs and OBCs.
“Naidu has scant respect for social justice and for the uplift of weaker sections. While Jagan had provided 59.85% reservations to the weaker sections in local body elections, Naidu has directed his party leader to file a case to stall the hike in quota,” Satyanarayana alleged.