‘Whose government was it in 2012?’ Centre’s counter on SC quota verdict, Oppn walks out
Congress has accused the government of attempting to snatch away the rights of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.Updated: Feb 10, 2020 16:55 IST
The central government has nothing to do with the Supreme Court’s ruling that states are not bound to provide reservation in appointments and there is no fundamental right to claim quota in promotions, Union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said in Parliament on Monday amid Opposition uproar.
“The Centre was never made a party to the case, nor were we asked to present any declaration. The matter arose due to a decision taken by Uttarkhand government in 2012. There was Congress government in the state at that time,” Gehlot said in the Lok Sabha.
“Our government is committed towards welfare of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. We will hold a high-level discussion and decide on future course of action,” he added.
The Opposition members shouted slogans and even staged a walkout over Gehlot’s statement. Congress had earlier accused the government of attempting to snatch away the rights of Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
Raising the issue in the Zero Hour, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that SCs and STs comprise about one-third of the country’s population and the Constitution has given them rights for socio-economic progress. “See what has happened, the government is trying to snatch their rights,” he said.
BJP members strongly objected to his remarks with Parliamentary Affairs Minister. “Whose government was (in Uttarakhand) in 2012? It was of Congress. The government has nothing to with it,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said.
“An attempt is being made by Congress to politicise this sensitive matter. It is a serious issue,” Defence minister Rajnath Singh said.
DMK member A Raja alleged that there has been “onslaught on the reservation since this government came”. He said that the government should go for a review petition or the matter should be brought in the Ninth Schedule of Constitution.
Chirag Paswan, leader of BJP ally Lok Janshakti party (LJP), demanded intervention of the central government on the issue. He said that all laws relating to the welfare of SCs and STs should be put in the Ninth Schedule so that “the debate ends” and the practice of going to the apex court from time to time stops. He had earlier expressed his party’s disagreement on Twitter. “The LJP does not agree with this decision of the Supreme Court... the party demands that the Union government take immediate measures to ensure that the reservation provision continues in jobs and promotion in the same they have been so far,” he posted on Twitter.
JD(U) national general secretary and spokesperson KC Tyagi said his party would urge the government to bring an Ordinance in the ongoing session of Parliament to ensure that the system of reservations in promotions in government jobs to SCs and STs continues.
Setting aside an Uttarakhand high court ruling quashing a 2012 state government decision to fill up all posts in public services in the state without providing any reservations to SC/STs, the Supreme Court had on Friday said that reservation in promotions for government jobs is not a fundamental right. The top court also said the states cannot be directed to provide promotions to the members of the SC/ST community.
The court reaffirmed the law in this regard, holding that constitutional provisions contained in Article 16 regarding reservation are only enabling provisions, and it is up to the government to decide whether it should provide reservations in exercise of those powers under the Constitution.