'Wasn't Party in Case Where SC Said Jobs Quota not Fundamental Right': Govt in Parliament

Social justice minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said the order pertains to a decision the Uttarakhand government took when the Congress was in power in the state.

New Delhi: The government on Monday informed Lok Sabha that it was not a party in the case in which the Supreme Court has ordered that states are not bound to provide reservation in appointments.

Making a statement in the House, social justice and empowerment minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said the Centre was also not asked to file an affidavit on the issue.

He said the top court order pertains to a decision of the Uttarakhand government taken in 2012 when the Congress was in power in the state.

This led to protests by Congress members who walked out of proceedings.

The minister said the issue is being discussed in the government at the “highest level” and it will take a holistic view on the matter.

Gehlot had been pressed to make a statement after opposition parties in Lok Sabha targeted the government over the Supreme Court order on Sunday.

The government had initially said that the Congress was trying to politicise a sensitive issue. “This is my charge that the Congress is politicising the sensitive issue,” defence minister and deputy leader of the House, Rajnath Singh said.

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Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi also urged Speaker Om Birla to expunge remarks made by opposition members against the government. Birla said he would look into the issue.

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Kalyan Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress targeted the government, saying there has been an onslaught on SC and ST reservation since the Modi government came to power.

While the Congress alleged that the ruling BJP government is not in favour of reservation to these communities, the Centre said opposition parties are politicising this sensitive matter.

Congress members were in the well shouting slogans “Modi sarkar hai hai, Modi government shame shame”.

The Supreme Court has held that states are not bound to provide reservation in appointments and there is no fundamental right to claim quota in promotions.

The apex court was dealing with pleas regarding Uttarakhand government’s September 5, 2012 decision to fill up all posts in public services in the state without providing reservation to SC/STs.

The defence minister accused the Congress of politicising this “sensitive” matter and urged members to wait for the statement of Gehlot on the matter.

“Please wait for the minister’s statement. If you will not be satisfied with that, you can request for a debate in the House,” Singh had said, adding in 2012 there was a Congress government in Uttarakhand.

Chirag Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party) said the government should immediately interfere in the matter and put the reservation subject in the ninth schedule so that no one approaches the Supreme Court on these issues.

He said the order of the court and behaviour of opposition on the matter is impacting a big population of the country.

“I request the central government to strengthen the reservation system. We cannot even discuss the issue of ending reservation,” Paswan said.

Kalyan Banerjee said the Constitution provides that reservation is a constitutional and fundamental right. Parliamentary affairs minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said that in 2012 there was a Congress government in Uttarakhand and they took a decision on the matter.

“In the matter, the Central government has no role. Our government is committed for reservation,” he said.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader A. Raja said there are reasons to believe that the government is not in favour of reservation. “I urge the central government that they should file a review petition on this and also put the subject in the ninth schedule,” Raja said.

Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajiv Ranjan said it is a “very sensitive” issue and the House has one view on it. “No politics should happen on this matter,” he said adding the government has taken several steps for the community.

Bahujan Samaj Party’s Ritesh Pandey  alleged the central government is against SC/ST and Dalits. Anupriya Patel (Apna Dal) said, “I want to register my objection and disagreement with the Supreme Court’s order and this is very unfortunate also”.

She said one of the reason for such orders are low representation of SC/ST and OBCs in judiciary. “The government should immediately intervene in the matter,” she said.

E.T. Mohammed Basheer (IUML) said the government cannot be a silent spectator on the matter and CPI(M) member A.M. Ariff said the government should file a review petition on this.

Supriya Sule (NCP) said the government should immediately address the matter. “We need action, we don’t need only words,” she added.

(With PTI inputs)