J’khand guv again returns bill to increase reservation
A senior Raj Bhawan official said that the bill has been returned to the government based on legal opinion provided by the Attorney General of India.
Jharkhand governor CP Radhakrishnan has returned the “Jharkhand reservation in vacancies of posts and services (Amendment) Act, 2022” that had sought to increase reservation in state government jobs, asking the Hemant Soren led state government to review the legislation, government officials said.
The bill, passed in a special one day session on November 11, 2022, looked to increase the quota of Other Backward Classes (OBC) to 27% from the existing 14%, for Scheduled Tribes to 28% from the existing 26%. Combined with the 10% reservation for EWS(economically weaker sections), this would have taken the total reservation in government jobs up to 78%.
A senior Raj Bhawan official said that the bill has been returned to the government based on legal opinion provided by the Attorney General of India. “The previous governor (Ramesh Bais) had sent the bill to the Attorney General for legal opinion. As per the attorney general’s opinion, the bill does not confer with several Supreme Court judgements on the issue of reservation. Considering that opinion, Raj Bhawan returned the bill back to the government last month for a review,” the official said. The return happened in March.
The official said that the attorney general has said that the bill could not be given assent as it crosses the 50% cap on job quotas.
Though this is the first bill to have been returned by incumbent governor CP Radhakrishnan, who was appointed onFebruary 18, the state government and Raj Bhawan have been at loggerheads in Jharkhand over the past two years, with the Hemant Soren government repeatedly accusing the governor’s office of working in a partisan manner.
Over the past two years, the Governors office has also returned at least four other contentious legislations and the ruling coalition reacted sharply. “It is clear that Raj Bhawan is working with a biased mindset. Key legislations have been blocked. On the one hand the BJP brags about welfare of OBCs and on other hand their governor is obstructing a law that intends to double their quota,” said Jharkhand Congress spokesperson Rakesh Sinha.
The BJO however said that the government was deliberately making controversial laws to “fool the people.” “They deliberately take decisions which are technically incorrect because their intention is not to do what they preach,” said senior BJP legislator and former minister CP Singh.
Several non-BJP ruled states have had run-ins with their respective Governors in the recent past. Last week, the Tamil Nadu assembly passed a resolution seeking a constitutional amendment to fix a timeframe for governors to decide on a bill passed by the state legislature.