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AP Assembly adopts resolution on OBC quota

By Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad
March 30, 2007 16:43 IST
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The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution urging the government of India to take all steps necessary for the implementation of the quota for Other Backward Classes.

"This House unanimously resolves to support the initiatives taken by the government of India in respect of reservations for the OBCs and also resolves to request the government of India to take all steps necessary for its expeditious resolution," the government-sponsored resolution stated.

All the parties, including Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, Majlis-e-Ittehaadul Muslimeen, Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Party, supported the resolution which was moved by Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy.

Earlier, the Assembly witnessed uproarious scenes and procedural wrangling, leading to the adjournment of the House twice, on the issue of OBC quota which was stayed by the Supreme Court. As soon as the House assembled for the last day's sitting of the Budget session, Speaker K R Suresh Reddy disallowed the adjournment notices given by TDP and JP on the OBC quota issue.

As the opposition members obstructed proceedings and insisted on taking up their motion, the speaker adjourned the sitting for some time.

When the House re-assembled, the opposition parties insisted on discussing the issue despite the matter being sub-judice as it concerned the larger question of quotas for OBC.

As the procedural wrangling went on, the speaker again adjourned the House. Later, a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee was held and the ruling Congress agreed to move a government resolution on the issue.

The Assembly adopted another official resolution requesting the government of India "to take all appropriate measures for reservations to the socially and educationally backward Muslims."

This resolution was moved on the suggestion of MIM, which insisted that the state government should request the government of India also to intervene in the issue of 5 per cent reservations provided for Muslims in Andhra Pradesh in the wake of the state's appeal pending in the Supreme Court against the state high court judgment quashing the quota for educationally, socially and economically backward Muslims.

Barring the BJP, all other parties supported the resolution on Muslim quota.

It may be recalled that the AP government issued a government order in 2004 earmarking 5 per cent reservations for Muslims in professional courses and public employment.

However, the GO was challenged in the high court and it was struck down. Subsequently, the state government promulgated an ordinance in 2005 providing for 5 per cent reservations for Muslims.

The ordinance was replaced with an act. But the high court quashed the act, prompting the state go in appeal to the Supreme Court against the high court's verdict. The issue has been pending in the apex court since then.

After the two resolutions were adopted, the Assembly also adopted the Appropriation Bills relating to budgetary estimates for the financial year 2007-08 and supplementary estimates for 2006-07 by a voice vote.

Incidentally, for the first time in the legislature's history, the appropriation bills were passed without discussion. The Assembly was later adjourned sine die.

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Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad