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Published in the 1-15 Sep 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Reservation issue and Karnataka Muslims

By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

The Andhra Pradesh government's order (GO 33) about granting reservations to Muslims in governmental and educational sectors has led to a hue and cry from some quarters. These groups can't tolerate even minor benefits to the Muslim community. They have challenged GO 33 in the high court questioning its validity. Vishwa Hindu Parishad, BJYM and the BJP are spearheading this campaign and have threatened to launch a nationwide agitation if the GO is not withdrawn.

The fact remains that before Andhra Pradesh four other states have also granted reservations to Muslims. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Manipur already have reservations in place for Muslims for years. Why were there no protestations and demonstrations held then ? Why is only Andhra Pradesh being targeted? 

Muslim Reservations in Karnataka

The exclusive 4% reservation for Muslims under II B category was made under the Chief ministership of Veerappa Moily in 1994. Here is provided the sequential process of how it was extended. 

The G.O. no was G.O.No. SWD 150 BCA 94 dated:17-09-94. 

Initially, it was only for admission in professional colleges and for the year 1994-95 alone. The GO stated the reservation categories as follows:

Category I 4%
Category II (A) 15%

Category II (B) 4% (This applies to Muslims only)

Category III (A) 4%

Category III (B) 5%

Scheduled Castes 15%

Scheduled Tribes 3%

Aggregate 50%

Under the said order dated 17-09-94 it was also stated that no person other than those belonging to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and Category I of Backward Classes shall be entitled to the benefit of reservation for admission to professional courses unless he/she satisfies the conditions of the creamy layer specified there under. 

In G.O. no SWD 251 BCA 94 dated 31-01-1995 the aforesaid reservation and creamy layer policy envisaged in the order dated 17-09-94 was made applicable to the employment too, under Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India. 

In G.O. no. SWD 394 BCA 94 Dated 14-02-96 the creamy layer policy existed as on 01-01-1995 for the purpose of admission to the professional courses was also made applicable to employment with retrospective effect from 01-01-94. 

In writ petition no. 438/94 the Hon'ble supreme court of India passed an interim order stating that the reservation in any case should not exceed 50%. Similar writs bearing no. 417/94 and 694/94 were pending disposal before the Supreme Court. Therefore in the G.O. no. SWD 61 BCA 95 dated 28-12-95, the currency of the 50% reservation specified in G.O. dated 17-09-94 and 13-01-95 was extended till the final decision in WP. No. 438/94, 471/94 and 694/94 is taken by the Supreme Court. 

The Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes submitted special report and 71 advices vide their letter dated 04-12-2000 (letter no. KSCBC:MS/Reports/2000-01 dated 14-12-2000 of the Member secretary Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes). Pending consideration of the entire report the Govt examined in detail the Creamy Layer Policy contained in the Special Report and 71 advices, relating to inclusions, deletions, corrections of spellings etc. and made the following orders: 

Government Order No. SWD 225 BCA 2000 dated 30th March 2002
After careful considerations of the above proposal the Government are pleased to have the following orders:

  1. The quantum of Reservation specified in G.O. dated 17-09-1994 and 31-01-1995 respectively for admission Educational Institutions and Employment.

  2. The revised list of Backward Classes enclosed to this order as at Annexure-I

    Incorporating recommendations of the BC Commission, is brought into force with immediate effect.

  3. A new comprehensive Creamy Layer Policy as detailed in Annexure-II to this Government order is brought into force with immediate effect. This Creamy Layer Policy does not apply to SCs/STs and Category-I of the Backward Classes. Candidates belonging to Category-II(A), II(B), III(A) and III(B) shall be entitled to reservation in the manner specified in the new comprehensive Creamy Layer Policy. 

By Order and in the name of the Governor of Karnataka
Sd/- D. M. Aga

Deputy Secretary to the Govt. 

Social Welfare Department 

Annexure-1 lists all the castes and communities under several BC communities.
Category-I lists over a hundred communities which also includes the following identifiable Muslim communities: Jalagara, Kasab, Kasai, Siddi, Sikkalgar, Shikkaligar (Sikkalgar and Shikkaligar are actually corruptions of Saiqalgar, or people who sharpen the swords in armies), Nalabund (those who put horse shoes), Dhobi, Kumbara, Chapparbund, Darvesu, Phool Mali, Phul Mali, Phulari, Phoolan, Rangrez. (Minorities Commission officials here told me that these 14 Muslim occupational groups are part of the Category-I. However, my personal knowledge says that a few more communities such as Bazigar, Takari, Mansoori, which are also in the list should be Muslims. Commission official could not confirm this. Interestingly SC converts to Christianity are also included in this list - MAS)

Category-II (B) Muslim

Category-III (A) (dominant castes in this category are various sub-castes of Vokkaligas)

Category-III (B) (dominant castes in this category are various sub-castes of Lingayaths)

Annexure-II to G.O. no. SWD 225 BCA 2000 dated 30th March 2002
New Comprehensive Creamy Layer

Under Article 15(4) and 16(4) of the constitution of India, the following persons shall not be eligible for reservation of seats of posts categorised under IIA, IIB, IIIA and IIIB. 

Note:

  1. This rule will not apply to direct recruitments to posts which insist on a prescribed peiord of service in a lower post or experience in a post, profession or occupation as a qualification or eligibility.

  2. This rule applies to son(s) or daughter(s) of the persons specified below:

  1. a President of India, b-vice president, c-all functionaries holding cabinet rank in Government of India ro Govt. of any state or Union territory, d-chairmen of council of states and the state Legislative councils, e-governors of States, f-speakers of Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies, g-judges of supreme court and high courts, h-chairmen of public service commission, I-attorney general of India, j-advocate general, k-chief election commissioner, l-Comptroller and Auditor General of India, m-Members of Parliament at least for a period of five years-during the period of their office. 

  2. The candidate and either of whoe parents/guardians is a Group-A or Group B office in the services of the government or holds an equivalent post in public sector undertakings or an employee of a private industry/institution and draws a salary which is not less than that of a group B officer (Pay scale Rs. 6000- Rs. 11,200)

  3. The candidate and his/her father's mother'/guardian Gross Annual income exceeds Rs. 2.00 lakh.

  4. The candidate and his/her father, mother/guardian holding 10 units of Agricultural Land as Specified in the karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961 and such of those holding more than 20 acres of plantation land. 

Sd/- D. M. Aga

Deputy Secretary to government,
Social Welfare Department

(AFMI Research Series on Indian Muslims-1)

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