No more Anglo-Indian MLAs and MPs?

Glen Galstaun is set to go down in history as the last Anglo-Indian MLA of Jharkhand. 24 days from now, we will not have an Anglo-Indian MLA.

George Baker and Richard Hay represented the community in Parliament during 2014-2019.

Quietly, the Modi Government has removed legislative representation of one of India’s vibrant micro-minorities.

On Wednesday, when the Union Cabinet approved extension of reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Parliament and state Assemblies for 10 more years, it did away with the reservation for Anglo-Indians in legislative bodies.

The reservation for SC/ST communities and the Anglo-Indian community was to expire in January 2020, but the new Bill will extend the reservation for SC and ST communities by 10 years, till January 25, 2030.

To ensure representation of the communities in elected legislative bodies, similar to reservation for SCs and STs, Anglo-Indians were provided two nominated seats in the Lok Sabha and nominated seats in certain state Assemblies.

Article 331 of the Constitution states: “Representation of the Anglo Indian community in the House of the People Notwithstanding anything in Article 81, the President may, if he is of opinion that the Anglo Indian community is not adequately represented in the House of the people, nominate not more than two members of that community…” For the state Assemblies, Article 333 provided for the Governor to nominate the members.

Article 334(b) extended it for 40 years. Subsequent amendments ensured the reservation was extended till January 2020. In 2009, the 95th Amendment extended it till 2020. But, according to the new Bill, it will cease to exist in January. The nominated Anglo-Indian members of the legislative bodies enjoy voting privileges similar to other members, except when it comes to the election for President, as only elected members of both houses of Parliament, state Assemblies and Legislative Councils are allowed to vote as the electoral college.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to extend reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies for 10 years but a question mark prevailed over whether it has extended reservations for two seats in the Lok Sabha for the Anglo-Indian community.

Provisions for reservations for SCs/STs and Anglo- Indians are extended under Article 334 (a) and (b) of the Constitution. While the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar confirmed that the SC/ST reservation under 334(a) was extended by 10 years, he said details of the Bill would be clear when it is tabled in Parliament in the ongoing session.

Two members of the Anglo Indian community have been nominated in the Lok Sabha since the adoption of the Constitution, under article 334(b). Sources said the reservation for members of the Anglo-Indian community had been done away with “for the time being”. They also said that the issue could be revisited at a later day, if required.