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SC/ST promotion quota bill


The SC/ST promotion quota bill is a Constitutional Amendment Bill that the government is seeking to pass. The bill if passed, will allow reservations to promotions in government jobs for people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The bill will also enable state governments to promote their employees belonging to SC and ST under the amended law.

The bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha on December 17, 2012.

History

The former Uttar Pradesh Government which was headed by BSP chief Mayawati had provided reservation quota for SCs and STs in promotions of government jobs to higher posts. The Allahabad High Court has struck down the government decision, which was challenged in the Supreme Court. On April 28, 2012 the Supreme court upheld the high court order and termed that the UP Government's decision as unconstitutional. The court also observed that the UP government has planned to implement reservations without any sufficient data.

Monsoon session of Parliament

In order to provide reservations to SCs and STs in promotions of government jobs, a Constitutional Amendment has to be made. Several parties have demanded the government to move the bill on the first day of the Monsoon session on August 8, 2012.

Subsequently, the Union Cabinet has cleared the proposal on September 4, 2012. The government table the bill in Rajya Sabha on August 9, 2012. A debate on the bill could not be possible as the session was adjourned due to the ongoing row between the Government and opposition on the coal mining scam.

The session was adjourned the next day on September 9 in similar circumstances. The BJP alleged that the Congress is trying to divert the attention of the people from the coalgate scam by trying passing the quota reservation bill hurriedly. BSP chief Mayawati demanded the Monsoon session to be extended by 10-12 days to enable the passage of the bill.

Constitutional Amendment

The constitutional amendment seeks to substitute Article 16 (4) of the Constitution with a new clause 4A which reads "Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in the Constitution, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes notified under Article 341 and Article 342, respectively, shall be deemed to be backward and nothing in this article or in the Article 335 shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotions, with consequential seniority, to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the SC and the STs to the extent of the percentage of reservation of the SCs and the STs in the service of the State."

Bill passed in Rajya Sabha

On December 17, 2012 the SC/ST promotion quota bill has won the vote in the Rajya Sabha. 206 members in the house have voted in favor of the bill, while 10 voted against the legislation out of a total house strength of 245. A total of 216 members were present at the time of voting.

All the nine members of the Samajwadi Party voted against the bill, while independent member Md Adeeb also voted against it. Though Shiv Sena has announced that it opposes the bill, all the four members of the party were absent for voting.

Voting on Bill in Lok Sabha

The voting in Lok Sabha on the SC/ST promotion quota bill was scheduled to be held on December 19, 2012. Samajwadi Party, which opposed the bill in the Rajya Sabha will oppose the bill in Lok Sabha too, while BJP is split on the bill. The Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP has passed a motion against the bill. Samajwadi Party MP Yashvir Singh has snatched away the bill from the hands of Minister of State for PMO V Narayasamy in the House which led to the abrupt adjournment. Yashvir Singh has later expressed regret for his actions. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had said he would urge the Speaker to take action against the SP member.

Timeline

The Constitution (One hundred and seventeenth) Amendment Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha on 4 September 2012.

On 12 December 2012, Mayawati accused the Centre for not being serious about the SC/ST quota promotion bill. She even lashed out against Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari for repeated adjournements of the House.

Minister of State for Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy introduced the SC/ST quota promotion bill in the Rajya Sabha on 13 December 2012. The Samajwadi Party stages a walk out protesting the consideration of the bill. The debate on the bill soon began with BJP senior leader urging the government to reconsider the bill. As soon as the bill is moved in the Rajya Sabha, about 18 lakh employees in Uttar Pradesh have staged a flash strike.

On 17 December 2012, the Constitution (117th Amendment) bill received the nod of the Rajya Sabha. 206 members voted in favor of the bill, while 10 members voted against the legislation.

Political Position on the Bill

Parties Supporting the bill

Indian National Congress

Congress party is supporting the bill. The cabinet has cleared the proposal and is planning to pass it at the earliest.

Bahujan Samaj Party

Party chief Mayawati has always supported quota reservation for SC/STs in government jobs. It was she who first moved the bill in Uttar Pradesh which was struck down by the Allahabad High Court and later by the Supreme Court. The party wants to take credit for the bill.

Janata Dal (United)

Janata Dal (United) led by Sharad Yadav is supporting the bill. The party has presence mainly in Bihar and Jharkhand.

Left Parties

The left parties support the SC/ST quota bill.

DMK

The DMK party in Tamil Nadu favors the inclusion of OBCs in the bill.

Parties Opposing the bill

Samajwadi Party

The Samajwadi Party is a strong opponent of the SC/ST quota bill. Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said that bill is unconstitutional. Another party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said that the bill is against principles of social justice. Samajwadi Party demanded the UPA to include Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the bill. The party, however, is not opposed for quota in jobs.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)

The DMK Party, which is an alliance of UPA, is also opposing the bill. They joined Samajwadi Party in demanding quota for other backward classes (OBC) in the bill.

Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena led by Bal Thackeray is opposing the bill.

Neutral

Bharatiya Janata Party

The BJP is seeking a debate on the bill. The party said that it stands for social justice subject to the limitation of Constitutional permissibility.

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