Barring Samajwadi Party, an overwhelming majority in the Rajya Sabha passed the Bill that provides for quotas for SCs and STs in government job promotions. The constitution amendment Bill was approved by 194 members in the 245-strong House. Nine from Samajwadi Party and an independent voted against the Bill.
The Bill is now likely to be introduced and moved for consideration and passing in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. The proposed legislation was the reason for the Lok Sabha being unable to transact any business during the day.
While the Bill was being debated in Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party Members repeatedly disrupted the functioning of the Lok Sabha with party President Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has threatened to review support to the UPA, leading the protest in the House. In between adjournments, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath attempted to assuage Mr. Yadav’s apprehensions but to no avail. Congress MPs tried to counter the SP by raising counter slogans demanding the Bill be introduced in the Rajya Sabha at the earliest.
In the Rajya Sabha, besides voting against the Bill, SP urged reservation in jobs for Muslims by referring to the Justice (Retd.) Rajender Sachar Committee report that said their plight was worse than that of Dalits.
In his reply to the debate, Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy said the government had incorporated some elements like a 22 per cent cap on promotions for which consideration of Annual Confidential Report (ACR) will be crucial. Mr. Narayanasamy gave out figures to assert that discrimination against the SCs/STs and OBCs was rampant.
He was amenable to Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley’s suggestion to ensure the amendments will not affect those who have already been promoted since 1995.