Jharkhand assembly clears bill to increase reservation to 77%
The Jharkhand assembly on Friday cleared two bills, one fixing land records of 1932 as the basis for domicile in the state and another to increase reservation in state government jobs across categories to 77%
Ranchi: The Jharkhand assembly on Friday cleared two bills, one fixing land records of 1932 as the basis for domicile in the state and another to increase reservation in state government jobs across categories to 77%.
Though both these bills were cleared unanimously, with opposition BJP and AJSU Party also extending support during a one-day special session, they would come into effect only after the Centre includes them in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution. A law in the Ninth Schedule is shielded from judicial review.
According to the “Jharkhand definition of local persons and for extending the consequential, social, cultural and other benefits to such local persons Bill, 2022”, only those people who have their names or their ancestors’ names in the khatiyan (land records) of 1932 or before will be considered local inhabitants of Jharkhand and only they would be entitled for grade 3 and 4 jobs in the state.
Besides, those who are landless or do not have their names or their families’ names in the 1932 khatiyan, the respective gram sabha would have the power to certify them based on their culture, local customs, traditions, etc.
The current domicile policy, required for claiming different government benefits, passed by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Raghubar Das, fixed 1985 as the base year to determine who could hold domicile of Jharkhand, which was carved out of Bihar on November 15, 2000.
The second bill, “Jharkhand reservation in vacancies of posts and services (Amendment) Act, 2022”, would increase reservation in state government jobs for the socially and economically weaker sections in the state from 60% to 77%.
According to this bill, reservation for the scheduled tribes (ST) would go up to 28% (from 26%), OBCs would get 27% (up from 14%) and 12% will be for the scheduled castes (up from 10%). After including 10% reservation for EWS (economically weaker section), the total reservation would go up to 77%.
Earlier, a similar decision by first chief minister Babulal Marandi in 2002 to fix 1932 as the base year to determine domicile was struck down by the Jharkhand high court. Marandi had also brought in a bill increasing total job reservation to 73% but it was turned down by the court.
The Hemant Soren goverment has now argued that it has decided to get these two bills in the Ninth Schedule to shield it from judicial scrutiny.
Rejecting demands to send the two bills to a select committee, chief minister Soren, who laid them in the House, said the bills have been drafted after detailed deliberations and hence do not require any further discussion.
Speaking to reporters after the session, Soren said, “Now it is up to the Centre to honour the sentiments of the state and include them in the Ninth Schedule. If required, we will use all our might to get it done.”
The opposition BJP, which supported the two bills, however described the development as political drama by the state government to deflect attention from its “failures” and “possible ED action” against the chief minister. BJP chief whip Biranchi Narayan also hit out at the chief minister for not allowing a discussion in the House on the two bills.
“We supported the bills but this is political drama. It is mentioned in both the bills that they would come into effect only after they are included in the Ninth Schedule, which is a very cumbersome process. Their intent is not clear. Such decisions could be implemented with a simple circular cleared by the cabinet. The Raghubar Das goverment did the same thing when it fixed 1985 as the base year. They have brought this just for vote bank politics when the ED has issued summons to the chief minister,” said Narayan.
In his closing remarks in the House, the chief minister described the decision as historic and challenged the BJP saying that the goverment’s move would decimate them in the next elections.
“On November 11 last year we had passed the Sarna Code resolution from here. It’s November 11 again and we are giving the 1932 khatiyan to the people. Don’t give me threats of the CBI and ED. We are not afraid. We will decimate you politically even from jail,” said Soren.