In a swift action to circumvent a Supreme Court order, the government on Tuesday cleared a bill providing for reservation to SCs and STs in promotions in government jobs with effect from 1995 and it will be brought in Parliament on Wednesday.
The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved a proposal to amend Article 16(4) of the Constitution to remove the term "inadequate representation" to justify reservation in promotion and appointments.
The legislative action, which comes within four months of Supreme Court striking down such a decision by Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh governments, meets the demand of most of the parties, barring the Samajwadi Party.
It is intended to obviate the need for quantifying data on the basis of which such promotions should be granted, sources said.
The Constitution Amendment Bill is being brought to end uncertainties with regard to methodology for deciding the promotion and bring clarity on the issue.
The Bill, which will be brought in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow, provides for reservation with retrospective effect of June 17, 1995.
The previous Uttar Pradesh government headed by Mayawati had provided reservation benefits for SCs, STs in promotions to higher posts in government jobs. The Allahabad high court has struck down the government decision.
The Supreme Court on April 28 upheld the high court order and termed the state government decision as unconstitutional and done without any sufficient data.
Subsequently, when the current Monsoon session of Parliament began on August 8, several parties vociferously demanded that a bill be brought to circumvent the SC decision.
In view of these demands, the government promised on August 9 that a Bill would be brought in Parliament.
The Cabinet decision was today welcomed by BSP, which has been in the forefront in the demand, but Samajwadi Party criticised it and vowed to oppose.
"The Constitution Amendment Bill will be introduced in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow either at 12 noon or at 2 pm for consideration and passage," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.
The amendment seeks to substitute Article 16 (4) of the Constitution with a new clause 4A which reads "Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in the Constitution, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes notified under Article 341 and Article 342, respectively, shall be deemed to be backward and nothing in this article or in the article 335 shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotions, with consequential seniority, to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the SC and the STs to the extent of the percentage of reservation of the SCs and the STs in the service of the State."