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Haryana Jat quota bill passed: will quieten the Jats, may agitate the BJP

The legal formality of the Governor's assent on the Bill is only awaited.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh |
Updated: March 29, 2016 5:25:15 pm
jat quota, jat reservation Gurgaon: Jat community people block a road in Gurgaon during their agitation for reservation. PTI Photo

The Jats and five other castes shall now be covered under the Backward Classes and will be eligible for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions in the state.

Titled as the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Insitutions) Bill, 2016, the Haryana Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed it within 10 minutes of the Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar moving it.

Though the opposition Indian National Lok Dal was present in the Vidhan Sabha, all 15 Congress MLAs continued to remain absent. The Leader of Opposition, INLD MLA Abhay Chautala is also a Jat. Congress MLAs have been boycotting the House’s proceedings since Day 1 when three of their members were suspended for six months after they tore up copies of Governor’s address.

WATCH: Jat Reservation Bill Unanimously Passed In Haryana Assembly

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The legal formality of the Governor’s assent on the Bill is only awaited.

As per the Bill passed today, six castes including Jat, Jat Sikh, Ror, Bishnoi, Tyagi and Mulla Jat/ Muslim Jat have been included under the list of Backward Classes by bifurcating it and creating an additional Block (C).

There are 77 castes that were already covered under Backward Classes Block (A) and (B).

As per the Bill, 10 per cent reservation shall be granted to these six castes included in Backward Classes Block (C) for Class III and IV posts and six percent in Class I and II posts. They shall be provided 10 per cent reservation for admissions in educational institutions. According to the Bill, reservation has touched 50 per cent for Class I and II government jobs and reached 67 per cent in Class III and IV government jobs.

At least 30 people lost their lives and more than 320 were injured in the worst ever Jat agitation witnessed in Haryana. Besides that, a financial loss to the tune of hundreds of crores was incurred by people whose homes and business establishments were damaged in the arson that followed the agitation leaving the state paralysed for nearly two weeks.

Khattar on Tuesday moved the Bill in the House to give a statutory status to Backward Classes Block (A), Backward Classes Block (B) and Backward Classes Block (C). He said that the state government shall now request the central government to include this Act in 9th Schedule read with Article 31B of the Constitution of India to give it immunity from judicial review.

While moving the Bill, Khattar boasted of keeping his promise to the Jat community. “We had announced that we would bring in this Bill during the ongoing Budget Session and we have done it”, Khattar said.

The government is also contemplating another bill to increase the existing reservation of five per cent for Economically Backward Persons (EBP) to seven per cent, an announcement that Khattar made in the House today.

Although the ceiling of 50 per cent reservation has been breached, the government claims that it is empowered to do so under “exceptional circumstances”.

The Bill states that “notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the state government may provide horizontal reservation for such category or categories of persons within Backward Classes, as it may deem necessary from time to time”.

The Bill may not impress the Jats because they had demanded 10 per cent quota in Class I and II posts but it will definitely lower their temper — at least for the time being. Yashpal Malik, president of All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Saimit, an umbrella group of Jat agitators, has already lodged his protest. “The Bill is not as per our expectations. We demanded 10 per cent in Class I and II posts while the government has granted us six”, Malik says. Jats from 13 states will meet in New Delhi on April 3 to decide their further course of action.

The Bill will create fissures within the BJP too. Its Kurukshetra MP, Raj Kumar Saini has already termed the Bill as the “death of democracy”.

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