Jharkhand governor returns OBC reservation bill to Soren govt for review

Apr 19, 2023 10:26 PM IST

A senior official in Raj Bhawan, however, said the bill has been returned back to the government based on the legal opinion provided by the Attorney General of India.

RANCHI: Jharkhand governor CP Radhakrishnan has returned the bill that proposes to increase reservation in state government jobs for the socially and educationally backward sections of the society back to Hemant Soren government suggesting it to review the legislation, people aware of the development said on Wednesday.

Jharkhand Governor C.P. Radhakrishnan. (PTI)
Jharkhand Governor C.P. Radhakrishnan. (PTI)

As per the bill, popularly known as the ‘OBC reservation bill’, the quota of the other backward classes (OBC) would increase to 27% (up from 14%), for schedule tribes (ST) it would go up to 28% (from 26%) and 12% for the scheduled castes (up from 10%). After including 10% reservation for EWS (economically weaker section), the total reservation in state government jobs would go up to 77%.

The bill, passed at a one-day special session on November 11, 2022, also proposes to be included in the ninth schedule of the Constitution. The state government had sent the bill to the Governor for assent and forwarded to the Centre for its inclusion in the ninth schedule.

A senior official in Raj Bhawan, however, said the bill has been returned back to the government based on the legal opinion provided by the Attorney General of India.

“The previous governor (Ramesh Bais) had sent the bill to the Attorney General for a legal opinion. As per the attorney general’s opinion, the bill does not confer with several Supreme Court judgments over the issue of reservation. Considering that opinion, Raj Bhawan returned the bill back to the government last month for a review,” the official said.

Sources said the attorney general has underlined that the bill can’t be given assent as it crosses the 50 percent cap laid on job quota for different caste groups as affirmative action.

Though this is the first bill to have been returned by incumbent governor CP Radhakrishnan, the state government and Raj Bhawan have been at loggerheads in the state over the past couple of years, with the Hemant Soren government having repeatedly accused the governor’s office of working in a partisan manner.

The development has once invoked a sharp response from the ruling party as well as the Opposition.

“It is clear that the Raj Bhawan is working with a biased mindset. Our key legislations like the Khatiyan bill and anti-lynching bills were also blocked. On one hand the BJP brags about the welfare of OBCs and on another hand their governor is obstructing our law that intends to double up their quota,” said Jharkhand Congress spokesperson Rakesh Sinha.

The Opposition BJP, however, accused the government of deliberately making controversial laws with the aim to fool people.

“They deliberately take decisions that are technically incorrect because their intention is not to do what they preach. They have made false promises and are fooling people by making consulates laws which would never get cleared legally,” said senior BJP legislator and former minister CP Singh.


    Vishal Kant works as an Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He tracks developments in Aam Aadmi Party and Delhi government. Vishal has spent about a decade covering the city politics and governance, besides writing on Delhi’s civic issues, urban transport and infrastructure.

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