Chandigarh just capital, not part of Haryana, state tells HC on quota plea

Punjab says capital is seat of power, but reservation meant for only those living within state’s territory
By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON SEP 10, 2019 06:06 PM IST

The Haryana government on Monday told the Punjab and Haryana high court that Chandigarh is just a capital and not part of the state.

Haryana advocate general BR Mahajan was responding to a query from the bench of justices RK Jain and justices AK Tyagi. The bench is hearing the petition of a Chandigarh resident, who had demanded reservation in judicial services in Punjab as well as Haryana by virtue of the Union Territory being the capital of both states.

“It’s a fact... at one point  of time in ’70s, some parts of Fazilka and Abohar were to be given to Haryana, and Chandigarh was to be given to Punjab. But it did not materialise due to some reasons,” Mahajan said, elaborating that Haryana was to establish its own capital. However, he did not make any submission about giving reservation.

Meanwhile, Punjab advocate general Atul Nanda sought more time to make the state’s stand clear, but submitted that capital is a different concept and deals with the place of “seat of power”.

“Reservation is given as per geographical territory of a particular state,” he said. Nanda too, sought more time from court to submit whether the state has any claim on Chandigarh. He cited a number of judgments submitting that various judicial pronouncements have said that Chandigarh is part of Punjab.

The advocates general were responding to court’s observation wherein it asked the two states to take a categorical stand since both have been laying claim to the city.

UT’s senior standing counsel Pankaj Jain, on the other hand, said that Chandigarh ceased to be part of Punjab, by virtue of the Reorganisation Act, 1966. Haryana was carved out in 1966 and Chandigarh declared a UT. Jain’s statement was supported by additional solicitor general Satya Pal Jain, but he did not make detailed submissions, stating that he would clear the Centre’s stand on the next date of hearing.

Top law officers of the four stakeholders have been called in to assist court in plea by one Phool Singh of Chandigarh, who had qualified judicial services exams of both the states. Since he was not considered under the scheduled caste category, he appeared in the general category.

Both states objected to his domicile of Chandigarh for being considered under the reserved category. Chandigarh being the capital of both the states, he is entitled for reservation, he had argued.  Both states have failed to produce any notification announcing Chandigarh as capital.

Punjab and Haryana have secretariat and high court in common buildings in Chandigarh. Chandigarh does not have its cadre of judicial officers nor local lawyers are considered separately for elevation as high court judges. They have to get their nominations from either Punjab or Haryana.  

UT also does not have its own judicial service cadre. In civil administration and police, officers from Punjab and Haryana come in on deputation besides appointment in some cases by the Centre.    

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