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Odisha Assembly Passes Bill to Set Upper Limit of Reservation in Civic Bodies to 50pc

As per the provisions of the Odisha Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021, the upper limit of reservation in respect of SCs, STs, and Backward Class of Citizens in urban local bodies (ULBs) elections should not exceed 50 per cent.

Odisha Assembly passed a municipal laws amendment bill to set the upper limit of reservation of seats in civic bodies to 50 per cent in favour of SCs, STs and OBCs. (PTI Photo)

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly on Tuesday passed a municipal laws amendment bill to set the upper limit of reservation of seats in civic bodies to 50 per cent in favour of SCs, STs and OBCs.

As per the provisions of the Odisha Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021, the upper limit of reservation in respect of SCs, STs, and Backward Class of Citizens in urban local bodies (ULBs) elections should not exceed 50 per cent.

It also said the reservation of BCCs only should not exceed 27 per cent.

Law Minister Pratap Jena moved the bill which proposed amendments to the Odisha Municipal Act, 1950 and the Odisha Municipal Corporation Act, 2003.

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The amendment to set the 50 per cent ceiling in favour of SCs, STs and OBCs together has been brought to comply with the orders of the Orissa High Court and the Supreme Court in the K Krishna Murthy case, the minister said.

“The principle for reservations has been decided in the case of K Krishna Murthy versus Union of India where the apex court ruled that total quantum of reservation should not exceed 50 per cent,” he said.

The reservation for OBCs in ULBs remained a contentious issue in the state.

The passage of the bill in the assembly will make sure that the quota for OBC would not exceed 27 per cent, and the total reservation will be up to 50 per cent.

“Constitution in every municipality by the District Magistrate to such extent not exceeding 27 per cent subject to ceiling limit of 50 per cent of the total number of seats, including those reserved for SC, ST and backward class of citizens taken together and such seats will be allotted by rotation to different wards in a municipal area at every general election,” the bill stated.

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The passage of the legislation paved the way for the urban local bodies polls which have not been held since 2018.

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In previous panchayat and ULBs elections, the reservations were exceeding more than 50 per cent at some places due to 27 per cent reservation given to candidates belonging to other backward classes (OBCs). This was challenged in Orissa High Court.

In 2018, the high court said if the state government breached the upper limit of 50 per cent in the reservations, it would be unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, Jena also introduced the Odisha Panchayat Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the House with similar reservation provisions in three-tier panchayati raj institutions.

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