The introduction of Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012, which ensures reservation for SCs and STs in promotions, in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday resulted in a scuffle between two MPs belonging to the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.

A scuffle broke out between SP leader Naresh Agarwal and BSP MP Avtar Singh Karimpuri as the former tried to storm into the well to prevent the tabling of the legislation. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy introduced the Bill amid din.

The Government, however, maintained that it was committed to passing the Bill in the Monsoon session. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the Bill would be brought again for passage on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Congress said while the SP’s position on the Bill was well known, the BJP’s stand was cynical. Jairam Ramesh, Rural Development Minister, who addressed reporters, said there was no hurry from the Government’s side to bring the legislation.

Reacting to allegations that the Government was trying to divert attention from the coal scam, Ramesh said the Government did not want to divert attention from any issue. “This is not a new issue. All parties, except the SP, have supported the Bill,” he said.

The BJP, however, said a discussion on the Bill would take place only if the Government cancelled the coal block allocations and ordered an independent probe. It said the struggle for social justice and the battle against corruption must co-exist.

BJP sources said there were “serious flaws” in the legislation. The amendment did not keep in mind court judgments on the issue of reservation in promotions, the sources said.

“The Government is in a hurry. Ideally, the Bill must got to the Standing Committee so that it can withstand the legal scrutiny,” a BJP leader said.

The SP also said that the Bill was against the Constitution and the Government was trying to divert attention from the coal scam.

(This article was published on September 5, 2012)
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