Article 371-J limits reservation to a specific region only
M. Veerappa Moily, Petroleum Minister, had announced that the amendment to Article 371-J of the Constitution to grant special status to Hyderabad-Karnataka was better than similar provisions in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. However, a close reading of the amendment reveals that the provision seems to fall below people’s expectations.
The most important limitation is in extending regional reservation to the residents of the six north-eastern districts. While the amendment for Andhra Pradesh, Article 371-D, extends benefits of reservation to Telangana residents in educational institutions across that State, the provisions for Karnataka restrict such facilities only to Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
The amendment (Article 371-D) empowers the Andhra Pradesh government to take steps to ensure reservation to Telangana residents “for the purposes of admission to any university within the State or to any other educational institution which is subject to the control of the State government (Section 3-B-III).
However, Article 371-J clearly limits such benefits to be made available in educational institutions within Hyderabad Karnataka.
Similarly disappointing is the provision for employment. While Article 371-D has a blanket provision of reservation “for direct recruitment to posts in any cadre under any local authority within the State or any local cadre under the State government’’ (Section 3-B-II), Article 371-J restricts the reservation to Gulbarga revenue division that includes the Hyderabad-Karnataka districts.
Hyderabad Karnataka Horata Samiti and other civil society groups have criticised this. “Did we fight for 25 long years for this?” asks Anil Kumar Beldar, divisional general secretary of the samiti. “Our boys and girls are getting admissions and jobs in this region. What is the purpose of giving reservation to us in our own area?” he wondered.
“We have registered our protest in a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. We have sought rules that would provide our students 25 per cent reservation in admission in educational institutions and public employment across Karnataka. If such rules are not possible under the existing amendment, the Constitution needs to be further amended. If that does not happen, we will intensify our agitation,” Mr. Beldar said.
B.G. Shetkar, president of Bidar Chamber of Commerce, said that he too was not happy with the provision.
“What is the point in having the amendment if students from Bidar and Gulbarga don’t get reservation in medical and engineering colleges in Bangalore and Mysore?” Mr. Shetkar said.
As much as 21 per cent of Karnataka’s population resides in Hyderabad-Karnataka region. So, the reservation should be 21 per cent. But more important is that this facility should be available at the State level. “In fact, we have urged the H.K. Patil committee to draft rules to give 21 per cent reservation in education and employment at the State level and 79 per cent in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region. If this does not happen, then we will approach the Union government again,” he said.
Earlier, the amendment was said to be better than similar provisions in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra
‘It should benefit students from the region seeking education, jobs in the entire State’