he Karnataka High Court last week, in an interim order, directed a Block Education Officer (BEO) to sign a proforma for a Rural Study Certificate submitted by a resident of Vittla in Dakshin Kannada, to claim admission to an engineering course under the rural category of government quota seats through the Karnataka Examinations Authority, even though the area been declared a “transitional area”.
The BEO had refused to sign the proforma on the ground the government had notified Vittla as a “transitional area” in 2015, before which it had been recognized as a rural area. The petitioner had studied in Vittla between 2008 and 2018.
The question, therefore, before the division bench of Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ravi V Hosmani was whether students could be deprived of the benefit of seeking admission to professional courses under the rural category reservation after a rural area had been declared a “transitional area” by the government under municipal laws.
The plea filed through advocate Dore Raj said that under the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964 a ‘transitional area’ had been treated as an urban area by legal fiction, by employing the words “deemed” and “as if” even though, the transitional area was still a rural area.
Assailing the provisions of the 1964 Act, the petitioner submitted that candidates who had studied in schools situated in a rural area, included in a transitional area, from 1st standard to 10th standard had been denied the benefit of rural reservation, in terms of the impugned Act, even though the transitional area was also a rural area.
“Vittla became a transitional area in the year 2015, the conditions of any of the schools in Vittla did not improve in any manner. The condition of any of the schools in Vittla in the year 2018 when Vittla was made a transitional area, was same as that of the year 2015”, the petitioner said.
In support of his plea, the petitioner referred to the School Report Card prepared by the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), (a Deemed to be University) established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in respect of the School, for the year 2017-18 which clearly recorded that his School was situated in a rural area.
The petitioner passed out from school in the year 2018 after completing his 10th Standard. According to the 1964 Act, the petitioner’s education from 2008 up to the year 2015 (aggregating to 7 years) was in a rural school, while from 2016 to 2018 (aggregating to 3 years) it was in the very same School situated in a transitional area, which had now been deemed to be a municipal area.
The petitioner, thus, argued that due to a certain administrative act of the 1st respondent through its Urban Development Secretariat under the 1964 Act, he had deprived of the benefit of rural reservation accrued to the petitioner, for no fault of his.
There are 98 transitional areas named as town panchayats in Karnataka State, as on June 12, 2020, with populations ranging from 10,000 to 20,000.