The Rajya Sabha passed the 117th Constitution Amendment Bill, which ensures reservation for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in promotions in Government jobs. The passage was smooth as the Government agreed to change the Bill so that Article 335 of the Constitution would still apply to reservations in promotions.

The Opposition had urged the Centre that Article 335, which deals with efficiency standards in promotions, should be applicable in the new Bill too. The Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha with just 10 MPs, belonging to the SP, the Shiv Sena and an independent, voting against it. 206 MPs supported the amendment.

Replying to the debate, which started on Friday, MoS in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy said the Government has noted inadequacies in the appointment and promotions of officers belonging to SC and ST communities. He said apart from two parties, all parties and leaders were in support of the legislation. He assured the House that the Centre will write to all States that promotions of other categories that happened after 1995 should not be cancelled. The Bill is likely to be considered by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The Government, however, is finding it difficult to get the Bill passed in Lok Sabha as the Samajwadi Party has stepped up its protests. Sources in the SP said they will take “stringent measures” to ensure that the Bill will not get Lok Sabha’s nod.

Lok Sabha Adjourned

The Government, another source added, fears that the Reservation in Promotions Bill may also face the same fate of the Women’s Reservation Bill.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day as SP members created disruptions, raising the quota in promotions issue.

The party leaders maintained that the proposed Constitutional amendment will divide the society. “We are fully opposed to the Bill and whenever it comes up for voting in the House, we will vote against it,” SP general secretary Mohan Singh told reporters.

jigeesh.am@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 17, 2012)
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