Private sector job quota: Haryana governor in a fix over ordinance, politics may influence decision
May get more time to deal with the matter if cabinet on August 13 announces dates for the monsoon sessionUpdated: Aug 12, 2020 22:55 IST
Haryana governor Satyadeo Narain Arya seems to have been caught in a dilemma over whether or not to promulgate an ordinance to provide 75% quota in private sector jobs for local candidates. The state cabinet had sent the proposed law for promulgation to him three weeks ago.
Arya’s predicament stems from conflicting pieces of advice given by state’s top two law officers as well as the political ramifications attached to the issue.
The ordinance is designed on the lines of a law enacted by YS Jaganmohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh, challenged on the grounds of constitutional validity in the high court.
The Haryana governor may well get more time to deal with the matter if the cabinet on August 13 announces dates for convening the monsoon assembly session. In the event of assembly being convened, the state government will have to table a private sector quota bill in the house, get it through and send it to the governor for assent.
Dilemma before Arya
Under Article 213 of the Constitution, the governor has the powers to promulgate an ordinance or a law when the state assembly is not in session.
The dilemma before the Haryana governor is that he has to deal with two divergent pieces of legal advice from the law secretary and the advocate general.
While the law secretary has advised that assent of the President should be sought on the proposed legislation, the advocate general’s advice is to the contrary.
Political implications in light of Bihar polls
“The governor has consulted the advocate general and the law secretary again on the matter. But he is keeping his cards close to his chest,” Raj Bhawan sources said.
Political analysts said that political implications of implementing a law, which would put migrants from his home state of Bihar at a disadvantage in terms of employment opportunities in private sector, would also weigh heavy on governor Arya’s mind — who himself is an eight-time Bihar MLA — particularly in view of the Bihar assembly polls later this year. The BJP is a coalition partner in the Janta Dal (U) led government in Bihar.
Also, the BJP government at the Centre seems to have reservations on the issue. At least two former central ministers had answered in negative to Parliament questions regarding reservations in private jobs.
The governor has three options – to agree with the advice of the advocate general and give his assent for promulgation of the ordinance, thus putting the law into effect; return the proposed law to the cabinet with a message for reconsideration; or reserve it for the President’s consideration.
The proposed law if reserved for the consideration of the president would go through time consuming scrutiny of the central ministries before the President takes a call.
Article 213 of the Constitution also empowers the governor to promulgate an ordinance after obtaining instructions from the President.
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had recently said that governor would take a decision in his wisdom on the proposed law after consulting legal experts.
Deputy chief minister and Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) leader Dushyant Chautala, who has spearheaded the private quota move, had on Monday met the governor to persuade him to expedite the official proclamation of the proposed quota law.
Why Presidential assent?
Officials said that law secretary’s opinion on reserving the proposed law for the consideration of the President is primarily based on two factors.
“Section 23 of the proposed law gives it an overriding effect over other laws. Such a broad provision has the potential to be repugnant to an Act of the parliament or an existing law and thereby needs presidential assent. Another provision providing for preference in jobs to the local candidates domiciled in Haryana seemingly is also in contravention of Article 14 of the Constitution pertaining to equality before law,” officials said.
Advocate general BR Mahajan, however, had said that the proposed Haryana law did not violate any central law. “It also does not come in conflict with Article 14 of the Constitution,” he added.
The proposed law
Titled Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Ordinance, 2020, it provides for 75% of the new employment to local candidates for jobs having salary less than ₹50,000 per month in private companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms and partnership firms situated in the state.
Employers will also have the option to recruit local candidates from one district to the extent of only 10%. The proposed law also contained a bailout clause for the industry if suitable local candidates are not available for a particular category.