Don’t exceed 50% quota in gram panchayats: HC

The Hyderabad High Court on Monday passed an interim order directing Telangana state to ensure that reservations in gram panchayats (GPs) do not exceed 50% as per an earlier directive issued by the Supreme Court.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan delivered the order, after hearing two writ petitions related to reservations in gram panchayats and other local bodies. Petitioners A. Gopal Reddy and V. Swapna Reddy, from Nagarkurnool and Sangareddy districts respectively, contended that provisions relating to reservations in Telangana Panchayat Raj Act-2018 were contrary to direction given by the Apex Court earlier.

They sought the High Court to set aside the recently issued GO No. 396 and provide reservations as laid down in the Supreme Court’s earlier directive. Having presented his arguments in the last hearing, counsel for the petitioners Vedula Srinivas said on Monday that the GO results in more than 50% reservations to the BCs, SCs and the STs. Special Government Pleader Sanjeev Kumar observed that the TS government was aware of the SC direction but it provided reservations of 34% to the BCs since their percentage in total population was high compared to other States.

Intervening at this stage, the bench observed that whatever be the reasons for the government’s decision, it could not breach the Supreme Court’s directive in the matter. The bench explained that the Apex Court had given exceptions to the ceiling of 50% reservations only to the STs in Scheduled Areas.

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