SC/ST law: Wary of court, govt may amend constitution
Following a note of caution from the attorney general on the likelihood of the proposed quota for SCs/STs in promotions being challenged in courts, the Centre has decided to recommend the removal of two critical clauses. Nagendar Sharma reports. Bumpy road aheaddelhi Updated: Aug 26, 2012 12:08 IST
Following a note of caution from the attorney general on the likelihood of the proposed quota for SCs/STs in promotions being challenged in courts, the Centre has decided to recommend the removal of two critical clauses from the constitution in Parliament.
The government thinks these clauses could provide those opposing the quota with a handle to take the matter to court.Attorney general GE Vahanvati, while giving his opinion to the Department for Personnel and Training (DoPT), cautioned that the "government may proceed with its bill to amend the constitution for providing reservation to SCs/STs in promotion, but is vulnerable to legal challenges".
He has advised fresh formulation of clauses concerning the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Constitution — Articles 16 and 335 — to prevent giving those in opposition an opportunity to approach the judiciary.
The law ministry and DoPT will, therefore, recommend the removal of the term “inadequate representation”, as mentioned in Article 16 (4) to provide reservation in issues concerning promotion and appointments. Similarly, it will delink the term “efficiency of administration” from the claims of SCs/STs for jobs and promotions, mentioned in Article 335.
The government had swung into action after PM Manmohan Singh, on August 21, assured an all-party meeting about the government’s willingness to provide reservation to members of the SCs and STs in matters concerning promotion on a “legally sustainable basis”.
The issue received a further impetus after BSP chief Mayawati raised the issue in Parliament after the SC, on April 28, struck down her decision to provide quota in promotions in UP.
She was supported by almost all parties in her demand for an amendment to the constitution for restoring the quota.