The governor sought an explanation from the government
Mumbai: The decision of the state cabinet to issue an ordinance to implement political reservation for other backward classes (OBCs) up to 50 per cent in Zilla Parishads, Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayats in the state is likely to find itself in a legal quandary once again. Stating that the reservation case is pending in the Supreme Court, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has blocked the ordinance sent for signature by the government and sought clarification from the government, sources said.
Earlier, 27 per cent reservation was implemented for OBCs in all Zilla Parishads, Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayats in the state. As a result, in some places, especially in tribal-dominated districts, the combined reservation of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs had gone up to 51 to 80 per cent. A petition was filed in the Supreme Court in this regard. The apex court has quashed the political reservation. The court said the reservation could be restored by meeting the 50 per cent reservation limit and proving the OBC’s political backwardness. As a result, the political atmosphere in the state has heated up and the opposition BJP is agitating against it. Even the constituents in the government are insistent on the political reservation of OBCs. Therefore, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had issued an ordinance to give reservation to OBCs with 50 per cent limit and also for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. In the same vein, a decision was taken in the cabinet meeting on Wednesday to issue an ordinance to implement political reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in Zilla Parishads, Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayats. After the issuance of this ordinance, OBCs in the state will get 27 per cent reservation in some districts, 20 per cent in some places and 4 per cent in others. Although the total number of OBC seats will be reduced by 10 to 12 per cent, political reservation will be restored. As per the decision of the Cabinet, the Rural Development Department had sent the ordinance to the Governor for signature.
The government expected the governor to approve the ordinance at the insistence of all parties. However, the governor said the matter was in the Supreme Court and sought further legal opinion from the government. Presenting some legal issues regarding the ordinance, the governor has written to the government seeking clarification, sources said.