New Delhi: A bill that proposes to use 1932 land records to determine people’s domicile status and another that raises the total reservation offered to various categories to 77% were passed in the Jharkhand assembly on Friday, November 11.
The bills were passed amid the Enforcement Directorate’s summons to Chief Minister Hemant Soren in an illegal mining case. Soren had alleged that he was being targeted out of political compulsions by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in power in the Union government and thus in direct charge of the ED.
Earlier, reports had alleged that Soren’s disqualification as an MLA was imminent in an office-of-profit case, however the Election Commission – which was reported to have called for the disqualification – is yet to speak on the matter.
1932 land records
The Jharkhand Definition of Local Persons and for Extending the Consequential Social, Cultural and Other Benefits to such Local Persons Bill, 2022, was passed in a special session following a demand by tribal bodies who had urged that the last land survey conducted by the British in 1932 be used as the basis for defining ‘locals’. The earlier cut-off date was 1985.
People whose ancestors were living in the area before 1932, and whose names were included in that year’s land records will be considered local residents of Jharkhand, when the proposals in the bill come into effect.
Speaking in the assembly, Chief Minister Hemant Soren said the day “will be written in gold letters” in the state’s history.
Hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party – in opposition in the state – he said its MLAs were creating an uproar as it was in tremendous “pressure, fear and anxiety” due to the milestones achieved by the Jharkhand Janmukti Morcha-led coalition, which wants all-round development of the state, “instead of hatching conspiracies”.
A proposal to send the bill for vetting by an assembly committee was rejected.
The Jharkhand Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services Act, 2001, raises the reservations for Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes, Economically Backward Classes, Other Backward Classes and Economically Weaker Sections in government jobs from the earlier 60% to 77%.
The Jharkhand government had, on September 14, gave its nod to the proposal.
The bill also says that the state will urge the Union government for changes in the Ninth Schedule of the constitution.
In the proposed reservation, locals of the SC community will be able to avail themselves of a quota of 12%, those belonging to communities under the ST list will have 28% seats reserved for them, members of the EBCs will have 15%, those in the OBCs 12%, and EWS – barring those from the other reserved categories – 10%.
At present, the percentages of seats reserved for members of the ST and SC lists are 26 and 10, respectively.
OBCs currently have a 14% quota in the state, and increasing it was an electoral promise of all mainstream parties in 2019.
CM Soren termed the legislation a “suraksha kavach” (safety shield) for the state’s people.
Proposals for some amendments, and a proposal to send the bill for vetting by an assembly committee were rejected.
(With PTI inputs)