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CM Siddaramaiah asks Central govt to amend Constitution for internal reservation for SCs

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Bengaluru, Jan 20 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday termed the high-level committee to review internal reservation for Scheduled Castes as a ploy to mislead the Dalit community.

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He charged that the BJP has no genuine concern behind the move.

"The Central Government has formed a high-level committee under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to review the internal reservation for Scheduled Castes," Siddaramaiah said in a statement and alleged that this seemed to be nothing more than a ploy to mislead the Dalit community as it is clear that the BJP has no genuine concern behind it.

"If the Central Government truly intends to fulfill the demands for internal reservation for Scheduled Castes, it should present a bill to amend Section 341 of the Constitution in Parliament, get it approved and implement the reservation quickly," the Chief Minister said.

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Siddaramaiah underlined that the Justice Usha Mehra Commission, also constituted by the Central Government for the same purpose, had concluded that sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes and providing internal reservation is the only solution through a constitutional amendment.

"The National Commission for Scheduled Castes, which had studied the sub-categorisation of Scheduled Castes in Andhra Pradesh, had expressed the same opinion. Then, what is the need for another high-level committee? This appears to be merely a tactic to waste time," he alleged.

The Chief Minister said no matter how many high-level committees are formed, they cannot make recommendations beyond the Constitutional provisions.

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"According to Sections 341(1) and (2) of the Constitution, any addition or removal of castes from the Scheduled Castes list requires a constitutional amendment, a simple truth known to those with basic knowledge of the Constitution," he pointed out.

Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment A Narayanaswamy on July 26, 2023, informed the Rajya Sabha that the National Commission for Sub-Categorisation of Scheduled Castes in Andhra Pradesh had recommended the amendment of the Constitution to implement sub categorisation, the Chief Minister pointed out.

Narayanaswamy's statement was in response to a question by BJP member G V L Narasimha Rao, Siddaramaiah said, adding now the same minister stating that there is no need for a constitutional amendment for internal reservation contradicts himself.

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He charged that the BJP leaders in the state are speaking with double standards as usual.

"After the responsibility of fulfilling the demands for internal reservation for Scheduled Castes has fallen on their shoulders, the BJP leaders, confused and anxious, are giving random statements, exposing their ignorance," Siddaramaiah alleged.

He said the BJP leaders in the state are making false accusations against the Congress with political malice, wasting time instead of pressuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi to amend Section 341 of the Constitution and fulfil the decades-old demand for internal reservation for Scheduled Castes.

The Chief Minister's accusation comes close on the heels of the Karnataka Cabinet deciding on Thursday to recommend to the Centre to insert Article 341 (3) to the Constitution.

The Congress government said this Constitutional amendment will enable states to provide internal reservation among Scheduled Castes. PTI GMS SS

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