The bill for amending the constitution to provide quota in promotions to the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) population was on Wednesday introduced by the govt in the Rajya Sabha amid scuffle. Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agrawal was involved in a scuffle with Avtar Singh Karimpuri of BSP.
The Rajya Sabha was later adjourned till 2pm while the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day. Earlier in the day, both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned till noon over coal block allocation.
The government had on Tuesday cleared the Bill providing for reservation to SCs and STs in promotions in government jobs. 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.
Most of the parties had earlier supported the demand for this bill but Samajwadi Party had opposed it.
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 has 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 yesterday welcomed by BSP, which has been in the forefront in the demand, but Samajwadi Party criticised it and vowed to oppose.
The cabinet gave its nod to the controversial bill on Tuesday, which is being seen as a result of the clever yet aggressive posture adopted by Mayawati. Her actions in this regard stumped all major political parties, giving them no option but to support the demand.
While neither the Congress nor the BJP could afford to oppose a pro-social justice move of such magnitude, their cautious approach indicated that both the parties were aware of the pitfalls ahead - including a strong possibility of the move being challenged in the courts.
The bill would require a two-thirds majority, and the presence of half the total number of members during voting.
Mayawati and her party colleague, Satish Chandra Mishra, met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Arun Jaitley Swaraj and Jaitley yesterday, urging them to allow Parliament to function so this bill could be taken up, sources said.
The BJP leaders told her that they would take a final call on the issue after a session of internal discussions.
Mayawati said that as a debate had already taken place on the issue during the last session, the House requires only about one hour for passing the bill. She said her party is not averse to reservation in promotion for Other Backward Classes or for religious minorities.
"The Bahujan Samaj Party will be the first party to welcome this," she said.