Saturday, 6 February 2016

Kapu Reservation - Analysis; a Way out.

Kapu Community reservation - to be included in the Backward Community list, has been on cards for long - since independence. Let us have some detailed analysis as to the historical background, current position, and a way out of the demand for the reservation.


How Kapu community evolved over a period of time
  • Kapu/Balija/Telaga/Munnuru Kapu communities have the title Setty in their Surnames who served as Traders during the Kakateeya and Viajayanagar Empires (Indicating their Ancestors established Powerful Trading Guilds Surnames like Bandreddy, Ramiesetty, Polisetty, KaliSetty, Muthamsetty, Kamisetty, Tirumalasetty, Rangisetty, Singamasetty, Chennamsetty etc)
  • Telaga/Kapu Community also has the title Reddy in their Surnames in Coastal Andhra Region (Indicating some of their ancestors were village heads. Maddireddy, Muthareddy, Kunapareddy, Katreddy, kasireddy, rayapureddy, Siddireddy, dharapureddy, peddireddy etc.)
  • Some Kapu/Telaga Surnames end with the title Neni which is a derivation of Senani (Indicating the Ancestors of these families served as Commanders under the Kakateeya Dynasity. Samineni, Lakkineni, Padalaneni, Vallabhaneni, Chitikineni, Kasineni etc)
  • During times of war they also served as Soldiers, Governors (Nayaks), Commanders in many of the Andhra Dynasties.Hence the term Nayaka/Naidu became synonymous with the community
  • Kapu and Telaga communities have the title Rayudu in Coastal and Rayalseema Regions which is a legacy of the communities association with the Vijayanagar Empire.
  • Kapu Community primarily served as Protectors of villages from Bandits in the Medieval Ages who later took to other Professions like Village heads and Farmers. People responsible for protecting,
    • farms from bandits and those protecting livestock were - Panta Kapu.
    • Village defense committees (Kapu)
    • Responsible for village Administration - Pedda Kapu
  • Modern day Kapu Community is predominantly are an Agrarian community diversified into Business, Industry, Films, Academia, and IT etc.

Developments surrounding around reservations of Kapu Community

British Government identified Telaga (Telaga,Kapu, Ontari,Balija) community as Backward Caste, under Notification No.67,Port St.George Gazete. (Education,

 A list of Backward Classes as existed in the Composite Madras State was adopted with slight modifications (from 1915 notification).

Backward Classes Commission (Kaka Khelkar Commission) was appointed, to determine the criteria and draw up list of Backward Classes. the Central Government found certain tests applied by the Commission to be vague, and therefore directed different State Governments to choose their own criteria for defining backwardness.

In the wake of formation of the State of Andhra Pradesh, two lists were maintained -- One for Andhra and the other for Telangana.

Telaga (Telaga,Kapu, Ontari,Balija) community was taken out of the Backward Community list by N.Sanjeev Reddy Govt

GO .No -  3250, Education Social Welfare Department,  14-10-1961, (Damodaram Sanjeevaiah) : Regrouped the  Telaga, Kosta Kapu, Balija, Ontari from hither to OC group into BC

G.O.Ms. No. 1886 specifying a list of certain persons as belonging to Backward Classes for the purpose of selecting candidates s in the medical colleges and provided 25% of the seats to be reserved.

The High Court struck down the said G.O.NO.1886 holding that the State has placed no material before the Court to determine the backwardness of these communities.

The State Government (Kasu Brahmananda Reddy)  issued G.O.Ms. No. 301, Education, dated 3-2-1964 scrapping the then existing list of Backward Classes and directed financial assistance to be given to the economically poorer sections of the population, whose family income was below Rs. 1500/- per annum.

G.O.Ms. No. 1880, Education, dated 29-7-1966 was issued (based on the report of Cabinet Sub Committee & Director of Social Welfare) showing 112 communities as backward being eligible for scholarships and reservation of seats to Professional Colleges and Government Services.

High Court in P. Sagar v. State of A. P., quashed G.O.Ms. No. 1880 also. It was held by the High Court that the list was drawn up by the Director of Social Welfare and the Law Secretary, who cannot be considered to be experts and that they had made no investigation nor collected any material data for classifying the persons mentioned in the G.O. as backward.

The State carried the matter to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in State of A. P. v. P. Sagar, upheld the decision of the High Court.

Anantharam Commission –The Commission drew up a list consisting of 93 classes to be included in the Backward Classes. The Government accepted and issued G.O.Ms. No. 1793 of 1970 making 25% reservation for them.  Point to note here is this list doesn’t include the caste of Kapu

Muralidhar Rao Commission - The Commission did not recommend for inclusion of Kapus, Ontaris, Balijas and Telegas in the list of Backward Classes.

the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney v. Union of India; , directed the State Governments to constitute a permanent body at State and Central levels within four months from the date of its judgment, in the nature of commission or tribunal to decide the complaints of wrong inclusion and non-inclusion of groups, classes in the list of other Backward

 In pursuance of this direction of the Supreme Court, the Andhra Pradesh Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993 was passed and by virtue of the powers vested under the Act, Backward Classes Commission headed by Justice Puttu-swamy was appointed.

When the agitation in the districts mostly covered by population of Kapus growing wild, the Government issued G.O.Ms. No. 18 dated 6-7-1994 providing certain non-statutory educational benefits and economic schemes to poor persons and also issued G.O.Ms. No. 19 dated 10-7-1994 providing non-statutory educational and economic support schemes to poor among Kapus, Telegas whose annual income is less than Rs. 12,000/-. Even then as the agitation was not stopped, G.O.Ms. No. 30 dated 25-8-1994, was issued declaring 14 classes/communities as other Backward Classes.

GO 30: Telaga (it’s catagories- Kapu,Baliga, Ontari) are again regrouped into BC

GO.30 was struck down by High Court of Andhra Pradesh by 2-1 majority and asked to survey of these groups to ascertain their status.

National Commission For Backward Classes rejected a plea to include Kapu, Reddy/I, Gajula Kap,  into National list of backward classes (even though it is included in the state list of Orissa)

National Commission For Backward Classes – Rejected the plea to include ‘Turpu Kapu’ into central list of OBCs.  Opined Kapu is not to be considered as OBC.

Justice Dalwa Subrahmanyam Commission,
1.      has been in force since 2006. The commission has been asked to probe into 17 communities to include in the OBC category. The commission has so far recommended 13 out of 17 communities as OBCs, the only left over communities are Kapu, Telaga, Balija, and Ontari.
2.      The Commission came to the conclusion that TurpuKapus who are recognized as Backward Class people are to be given benefits residing throughout the state of Andhra Pradesh and therefore it is just and necessary to remove the District restrictions and extend the benefits throughout the State of Andhra Pradesh. Consequently, the G.O1793 (under Group-D) has to be amended suitably. for deleting the words of “Srikakulam, Vizianagaramand Vishakapatnam Districts.

There are various High Court Judgments, mentioned here under, which has time and again struck down the GOs issued in regard to providing reservations for Kapu and other communities.
  • State Of Andhra Pradesh And Ors vs U.S.V. Balram Etc, 1972
  • P. Sagar v. State of A. P.,, 1966 quashed G.O.Ms. No. 1880 also
  • A.P. State Backward Class Welfare ... vs The State Of A.P, 1994

Also the three Commissions out of four, set up by the government of Andhra Pradesh have not included Kapu and related Communities into the Backward Classes,
  • Anantharam Commission –list consisting of 93 classes to be included in the Backward Classes doesn’t include the caste of Kapu.
  • Muralidhar Rao Commission, 1982  - did not recommend for inclusion of Kapus, Ontaris, Balijas (only Surya Balija, Krishna Balija are included in BC) and Telegas in the list of Backward Classes.
  • Justice Dalwa Subrahmanyam Commission, 2006,  has recommended 13 out of 17 communities as OBCs, the only left over communities are Kapu, Telaga, Balija, and Ontari

The National Commission for Backward Classes has twice rejected to include these castes into the central list of Backward Classes,
  • 2002 - rejected a plea to include Kapu, Reddy/I, Gajula Kapu,  into National list of backward classes (even though it is included in the state list of Orissa)
  • 2003 – Rejected the plea to include ‘Turpu Kapu’ into central list of OBCs.  Opined Kapu is not to be considered as OBC.
The reason cited for non inclusion of the Kapu in the BC category by above commissions is - given their traditional occupations, the Community, neither economically nor socially are so backward to be included in the list.

The necessity of reservation for a community erupts from its backwardness – Social, economic, educational and political. Now if there is a demand for reservation for Kapu, then this community should satisfy, if not all, social and educational parameters which are the fundamental ingredients as specifically required under Art. 15 (4) to qualify as backward classes.
If we study the historical background of these communities, it is evident that by virtue of being warriors, agrarians, traders, they held a decent position socially and economically by holding large chunk of fixed assets like Land. 
Economic and Educational backwardness is a consequence of social backwardness. With reference to “Profession" or "Habitation" or "Custom", it is difficult to say that the Kapus are Socially Backward.
It would be relevant to mention the observations of National Commission For Backward Classes in 2002, 
  1. Historically they appear to have started as warrior class with all the privileges attached to such a class including ownership of land in the form of inam etc. granted by the erstwhile local rulers, and later they evolved in to cultivators. 
  2. They were also a trading class.
  3. There is no evidence to suggest that this group of communities has ever suffered from any social backwardness 
  4. Their social position in the post-independence period seems to have only improved as; many of those among them who were tenant cultivators also got the ownership of land with the help of the agrarian legislations.
What is the way out from this current turbulent situation? 
The solution lies in the crux of the various judgments of High court of AP, which logically make sense,  that is to collect complete data of the community - social, educational, economic and political conditions,  by the authenticated institutions (BC Commission in this case) following scientific methods. Based on this data we can come to a logical conclusion as to whether to provide reservations for this community or not. This applies to any community which comes up with a demand of inclusion or exclusion of their community into backward classes or Castes.

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