The Congress Government of Andhra Pradesh issued a historic order G.O. MS. No. 30 on 25th August, 1994, for inclusion of certain castes, including Muslims, in the list of Backward Classes. The G.O. was issued by the Backward Classes Welfare Department.
The release of this GO was not an easy task. I had to coordinate with the officials of Backward Classes Department, Law Ministry and other experts to make a strong base to provide reservation for Muslim community. We undertook a comprehensive study on the status of Backward Classes in the State. The list of BCs which was in force till August 1994 was based on the recommendations of the Anantha Raman Commission appointed in the year 1968.
In the year 1968 Manohar Pershad Committee was appointed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Later, by G.O. Ms. No.870 dated 12-4-1968 the State Government appointed “Anatha Raman Commission” to prepare a list of Backward Classes in the State as Socially and Educationally Backward Classes and the commission submitted its report to the Government. Considering the report of the Commission, the Government accepted the criteria adopted by the Commission and issued G.O. Ms. No. 1793 dated 23-9-1970 making 25% reservation for Backward Classes as against recommendation of 30% by the Commission. This G.O. was also challenged before the AP High Court which struck down the G.O. On appeal, the Apex Court reversed the view of the High Court holding that the G.O. is valid being within the postulates of Article 15(4) of the Constitution of India.
Again in the year 1982, “N.K. Muralidhar Rao Commission” was appointed to determine the nature of social and educational backwardness of different sections of citizens and to submit its report. The Commission made three major recommendations:
(1) To include 9 Communities in the Backward Classes,
(2) To enhance the quota of reservation both in Educational institutions, as well as services from 25% – 44%. The inter-division of this 44% among the Sub-groups ‘A’ to ‘E’ was specified as 10%, 16%, 8%, 8% and 2% respectively.
(3) The reservations so provided shall be in force for a period of 25 years, detailed review may be undertaken either to continue the reservation or to modify them.
I was surprised to learn that Muslims were among the nine communities which were recommended for inclusion in the BCs list by the Muralidhar Rao Commission in 1982. The other communities were Kapus, Balijas, Telagas and Ontari.
The Government of Andhra Pradesh had approved the Commission’s report with minor variations by issuing G.O. Ms. Nos.166, 167, and 168 dated 15-7-1986. It enhanced the quota of reservation for Backward Classes from 25% to 44% and for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, from 14% to 15% and from 4% to 6% respectively upto the year 2000. However, this triggerred large scale protests across the State. Later, the Andhra Pradesh High Court struck down the recommendations of Muralidhar Rao Commission relating to the enhancement of reservation quota for Backward Classes pointing out certain deficiencies and infirmities. But the court upheld the enhancement of reservation quota for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Meanwhile, the Government of India sought to implement the report of Mandal Commission on Backward Classes and in resultant litigation, the Supreme Court recommended the constitution of a permanent body to examine the complaints of wrong inclusion or non-inclusion of groups in the list of Backward Classes. On the directions of the Supreme Court, the Government of Andhra Pradesh constituted the Andhra Pradesh Commission for Backward Classes by the Andhra Pradesh Act. No. 20 of 1193.
The sequence of events that led to the inclusion of Muslims in BC-E were explained in detail in the G.O. MS. No. 30. For your reference, I’m reproducing the extracts of the abovesaid GO:
“There has been considerable unrest among the members of various castes and communities in support of their long pending demand and the government initially extended certain non-statutory educational benefits to students of certain casets whose parent’s or Guardian’s income is Rs. 12,000/- or less per annum. Similarly, certain economic support schemes have also been extended to parents whose income is less than Rs. 6,000/- p.a. These benefits were subsequently extended to Muslims along with other Minorities.
However, the mere extension of economic benefits is felt inadequate and will not entitle these castes for reservation of seats in educational institutions and for the reservation of jobs in Government and Local Bodies, which indeed is their main demand. In fact certain Castes who are similarly situated are already included in the list of Backward Classes in certain regions of the State and other neighbouring States. In these circumstances, the government made a request to the BC Commission for an interim report in regard to the Social and Educational Backwardness of these castes and communities. But the Commission expressed its inability to do so.
Normally before any caste or community is included or excluded from the list of Backward Classes, the government is expected to seek a report from the Commission and then take appropriate action. It is not the policy of the Government under normal circumstances to deviate from this procedure. But so far as the demand of the Castes and communities under references for inclusion in the list of Backward Classes is concerned, it is a long pending demand with the a mass support sometimes even causing unrest, for the simple reason that certain communities which are more or less on par with them in the matter of Social and Educational backwardness have already been included in the Backward Classes. Thus, a feeling of in-equity has been generated in those communities giving rise to emotional upsurges for social justice.”
In view of the circumstances mentioned, the then Congress Government ordered treatment of 14 castes as Social and Educational Backward Classes of citizens for the purpose of reservation of seats in educational institutions and for recruitment to jobs in government, local bodies, etc.,
Through G.O. MS. No. 30, the government ordered that any reservation to the communities to be included in the BC list will not cut into the quantum of reservation available to those who are already recognised as BCs. Further, the government made it clear that separate orders would be issued to decide:
- the percentage of reservation to be earmarked to the castes and communities to be included in the list of BCs;
- the group/classification/class in which they should be included;
iii. the economic criteria to be applied for the entitlement of the benefits extended to the Backward Classes under the rules.
First among the communities to be included in the BC list were Muslims followed by Kapus, Balijas, Telagas, Ontaris, Ayyakara, Kasi Kapidi, Patra, Gajulabalija (whose present profession is sale of bangles), Nagaralu, Pondara, Kurakala, Quresh (Muslim butchers) and Pala-cklari.
Subsequently, on August 31st, 1994, six days after the release of GO MS NO. 30, the State Government constituted a BC Commission headed by Justice K.S. Puttuswamy and assigned the task of deciding the percentage of reservation to be given to 14 new castes in the BCs list.