NEW DELHI :
THE Government on Monday informed Lok Sabha that it was not a party to the case in which the Supreme Court ruled that States are not bound to provide quota in appointments and promotions, after the Opposition accused it of failing to defend the reservation system. Making a statement in Lok Sabha, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said the top court order pertains to a 2012 decision of the previous Congress Government in Uttarakhand and asserted that the Central Government is “committed” and “dedicated” to reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs.
Gehlot made it clear that the Centre was not asked to file an affidavit in the matter and said the issue is being discussed in the Government at the “highest level” and it will take “appropriate steps” in the matter. When the Minister said the Supreme Court ruling was on an order issued when the Congress was in power in Uttarakhand, members of the Opposition party shouted “shame-shame” and walked out of the House. As soon as the Question Hour started, Opposition members led by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury sought to raise the issue. He was also joined by members from other parties, including the DMK.
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 order was quashed by the High Court. Hitting back at the Opposition, the Government said the Congress is 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. Singh said the Government will make a statement in Lok Sabha on the Supreme Court ruling. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi urged Speaker Om Birla to expunge remarks made by Opposition members against the Government.