On April 16, 2017, the Telangana legislature passed a bill with consent from both the houses to increase the reservations for scheduled tribes and the backward section among Muslims to 10 and 12 percent respectively. The Telangana Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Bill, 2017, was supported by almost the entire opposition.
According to the The Times of India, five BJP members who had shown strong opposition to the religion-based quota both inside and outside the assembly were suspended from the special session held on Sunday. These members were suspended by the speaker Madhusudanachari as they were protesting against the bill, calling it “anti-constitutional” since it provides quota based on religion. They were also seen carrying placards and wearing black scarves. However, they were in support of reservation for STs.
According to The Times Of India, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said,
Why can’t Muslims be given reservations? Are they sinners? They constitute one-fifth of the population of this country. Don’t they pay taxes? Are they not citizens of India?
As per the bill, ST’s reservation quotas will be increased from six percent to 10 percent and the BC-E’s (socially and economically backward among Muslims) reservation from four percent to 12 percent. The increase in the reservation quotas will increase the total reservations in the state to 62 percent from the present 50 percent. The bill will now be sent to the President for assent.
Rao has also said that if the Centre rejects the state’s request, they will approach the Supreme Court. According to the Indian Express, Rao said,
Tamil Nadu is implementing 69 percent reservations for over two decades. Five to six states are providing more than 50 percent reservation. How can you deny this to Telangana?