A Bill to ban inter-district recruitment, guaranteeing eight per cent reservation for scheduled caste candidate in all 22-district of the state, was passed by a voice vote amidst breaking down of the benches by Members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Assembly on Friday.
PDP protested the passing of the Bill without discussions and described it as the black day in the history of democracy in the state. Law minister Ali Mohammad Sagar in turn blamed the PDP for what he called lowering the dignity of the office of the Speaker by its ‘frustrated’ act.
The Bill envisages to keep district level posts for local candidates against the present system of district level posts open for call candidates of the state. As number of posts in districts, especially in backward and hilly districts, have been filled by outside candidates causing resentment among locals.
There was unanimous view across the parties that local posts should be filed by local candidates. However, the bone of contention was keeping eight per cent reservation for Scheduled Caste candidates. The PDP and some Members of the ruling National Conference were demanding that since there are no SC candidates in the valley there shouldn’t be reservation for them.
The Bill was passed in a same dramatic manner as it was introduced at the fag end of proceedings of the day on April 5. The PDP members had come in full strength. The speaker allowed some members to move their amendments. Panthers Party MLA had moved amendment for reservation for SC.
Speaker then allowed PDP MLA Zulfikar to speak. However, as he was speaking, former finance minister and senior leader of the PDP Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, sitting in the front row, along with PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, pulled the mike and began to speak out of turn.
This act of Beigh, presumably irked the Speaker, as he allowed another member to speak. The Speaker asked Beigh to first seek permission from him before making any speech. The two exchanged brief words after which Speaker called for voting on the Bill.
This announcement left Members in surprise as PDP had come prepared for full discussion. The Bill was then passed by voice vote.
As soon as the Bill was passed, PDP members broke down benches, tried to enter the well of House and even passed remarks at Speakers. An infuriated Speaker even, directed journalists present in the press gallery to move out as opposition members were playing to the gallery.