The Telangana Legislative Assembly passed the 'Backward Class, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Reservation Bill, 2017', on Sunday, which seeks to hike reservation quota for backward Muslims and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) to 12% and 10% respectively.
As soon as the day-long special session began, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao moved the Bill to increase the quota for socially and economically backward Muslims under the Backward Classes (E) category.
While the reservations for backward Muslims in education and jobs has been increased from 4% to 12%, for STs, it has been increased from 6% to 10%.
The special session was convened a day after the state cabinet took the decision to hike the quota.
After the Assembly, the legislative council debated and passed the Bill unanimously on Sunday evening. The lone member of the BJP in the council, staged a walk-out.
The BIll will now be sent to the Centre for the President's assent.
Since this would mean that reservation in the state would exceed 50%, which is the limit set by the Supreme Court, the Bill will be sent with a request to include it in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution as was done in the case of Tamil Nadu.
Speaking in the Assembly, KCR clarified that the reservations were being provided purely on the basis of socio-economic backwardness and not on the basis of religion or caste.
He also accused 'some parties' of trying to mislead the people.
Stating that he had "impeccable and unquestionable data" on the socio-economic backwardness of those who would get reservation, KCR asked for the Centre's approval, and added that the state would not hesitate to move the Supreme Court.
KCR said, "Tamil Nadu is implementing 69% reservations for over two decades. Five to six states are providing more than 50% reservation. How can you deny this to Telangana?"
Terming it as a historic day, Rao said Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had kept its poll promise, that quota for the BC (E) and the STs will be increased in proportion to their population in the state.
He pointed out that STs were currently enjoying 6% quota though their population as per 2011 Census is 9.8%.
He assured Backward Classes that there will be no injustice to them because of increase in quota for the BC (E) and announced that the quota for the BCs would also be increased.
He said that the state government has directed the BC Commission to submit a report within six months.
Rao also said that the reservation for the SCs, who constitute 16.3% of the state's population, will be increased by 1%.
He said the government would soon constitute an SC Commission too.
The SCs currently have 15% reservations while the BCs have a total quota of 25%.
The legislation will increase the total reservations in the state to 62%.
The Chief Minister argued that there is no constitutional bar on providing more than 50% reservation.
Rao said with 90% of Telangana's population comprising the BCs, SCs, STs and minorities, the state definitely needed more than 50% reservation.
He also pointed out that states like Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand were already providing more than 50% quota.
Meanwhile, all five legislators of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were suspended from the house, for creating a ruckus.
BJP floor leader G Kishan Reddy termed the Bill unconstitutional, and said it would not stand judicial scrutiny.
He also found fault with the TRS government for clubbing the Scheduled Tribes reservation with the Muslim quota in a single Bill.
Scores of BJP leaders and activists were also detained in various parts of Hyderabad and other districts of Telangana.
Many of them were detained by the police early on Sunday morning, as a precautionary measure. Others were arrested when they tried to march towards the Assembly building from different places.
The police tightened security and erected barricades on the roads leading towards the Assembly. Sporadic incidents of scuffles and violence were reported.
Protestors damaged window panes of two buses of state-owned Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) at Afzalgunj in Hyderabad. They also deflated tyres of a few buses at Ranigunj, Muralidhar Bagh and other areas in the city.