Private sector job quota: Haryana governor sends proposed law to President
Move is a setback to BJP ally Jannayak Janta Party and deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala’s move to provide 75% quota in private sector jobs to local candidates
In a setback to Haryana deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala’s move to provide 75% quota in private sector jobs to local candidates, governor Satyadeo Narain Arya has reserved the proposed quota ordinance approved by the cabinet for the President’s consideration.
Chautala’s Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) is BJP’s coalition partner in Haryana.
The move to introduce reservation for the local youth in private-sector jobs is on the lines of a law enacted by YS Jaganmohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh and challenged on the grounds of constitutional validity in the high court.
Piloted by Dushyant Chautala’s JJP, the proposed law though did not find much support from the BJP quarters. In fact, chief minister ML Khattar had once sounded non-committal on the prospect of enacting such a law.
Thus, Arya’s move to reserve the proposed law for the President’s review has the potential to sour the relations between the two allies. Chautala did not respond to calls made in this regard.
After approving the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Ordinance, 2020, in July, the Haryana cabinet had sent it to the governor for promulgation. 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. However, he can refuse to do so and refer it to the President.
The Haryana ordinance which has now been reserved for review would go through time-consuming scrutiny of central ministries before the President takes a final call on it.
TOOK LAW SECRETARY’S ADVICE
The governor, who had to deal with two contrary pieces of legal advice from the law secretary and the advocate general, seems to have agreed with the former’s counsel.
The law secretary’s advice on referring the proposed law for presidential review was primarily based on two counts. “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 for preference in jobs to the candidates domiciled in Haryana is seemingly in contravention of Article 14 of the Constitution pertaining to equality before law and Article 19 (1)(g), which provides for protection of certain rights to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business,” said an official familiar with the developments.
Advocate general BR Mahajan, however, had said the proposed rule did not violate any central law. “It also does not come in conflict with Article 14 of the Constitution,” Mahajan had said.
POLITICS BEHIND THE MOVE
It came as a surprise to many that governor Arya, despite knowing well that an assembly session has to been convened from August 26, chose to reserve the proposed law for the President’s consideration, instead of waiting for the assembly to replace it with a Bill. The BJP government at the Centre has a very different view on the issue. At least two former central ministers had answered in negative to Parliament questions about possibility of reservation in appointments in private companies. Arya who is a BJP appointee would have weighed the political implications of implementing a law that would put migrants from his home state of Bihar at a disadvantage in terms of employment opportunities in private sector. “He himself is an eight-time Bihar MLA and with Bihar assembly polls later this year, this factor would also have influenced his decision,” said a political analyst. The BJP is a coalition partner in the Janta Dal (U)-led government in Bihar.
About the 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, partnership firms, etc 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 bail-out clause for the industry if suitable local candidates are not available for a particular category of industry.