Opposition walks out from Houses over quota issue

Leading charge: Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury speaking in the Lok Sabha Monday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Opposition parties on Monday staged a walkout from both Houses of Parliament after Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said the Centre was not a party to the case in which the Supreme Court held that reservation in promotions in public posts could not be claimed as a ‘fundamental right’.

He said that though the Centre was neither asked to file an affidavit nor made a party to the case, the matter was being discussed at the “highest level” and “appropriate steps” would be taken. His remarks were in response to the Opposition’s charge that the Centre had failed to defend the reservation in promotions.

Refutes charge

Refuting the Opposition allegation, the Minister reiterated the Narendra Modi government’s commitment to reservation for the Scheduled Castes (SCs), the Scheduled Tribes (STs) and the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and pointed out that the order pertained to a 2012 decision of the Uttarakhand government when the Congress was in power in the State.

Last Friday, the top court ruled that the State governments were not bound to give reservation in promotion without data showing imbalance in the representation of certain communities. The order pertained to an appeal against the Uttarakhand High Court order with regard to promotions to Assistant Engineers (Civil) in the Public Works Department.

When Mr. Gehlot talked about the Congress being in power in Uttarakhand then, Opposition MPs shouted “shame, shame” and walked out. The issue was raised by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as soon as the Question Hour began.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is also the Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha, said, “The Congress is politicising the issue.” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi urged Speaker Om Birla to expunge comments from Opposition leaders who had linked the Centre with the judgment.

In the Rajya Sabha, Minister for Food and Consumer Affairs Ramvilas Paswan said, “We have been demanding two things: there be a separate judiciary services with due reservation for the SCs/STs; and the reservation clause be part of Schedule 9 of the Constitution so that it can’t be tampered with.”

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “None of us could have imagined that the reservation would be revoked. We were hopeful that Mr. Gehlot would say the government would file a review petition immediately or bring in a law to make the judgment null and void.”

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 2:44:42 AM |

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