Jats and five other castes will now be eligible for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions in Haryana as the Assembly unanimously passed the Haryana Backward Classes (Reservation in Services and Admission in Educational Institutions) Bill, 2016, Tuesday.
The Bill was passed within 10 minutes of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar moving it. The opposition INLD was present in the House, but all 15 Congress MLAs were absent. The Congress MLAs have been boycotting the House proceedings ever since three of them were suspended for six months after they tore copies of the Governor’s address.
The move comes days before the April 3 deadline set by the Jats, who had threatened a violent agitation if their demand for reservation was not met.
Yashpal Malik, president of All India Jat Aarakshan Sangharsh Samiti, an umbrella group of Jat protesters, said he was not satisfied with the Bill. “It is not as per our expectations. We demanded 10 per cent in Class I and II posts, but the government has given us 6 per cent,” he said. Jats from 13 states will hold a meeting in New Delhi on April 3 to decide the next course of action.
Former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda dismissed the Bill as “nothing but a carbon copy” of what the Congress government passed in 2014 granting Special Backward Class status to Jats and other castes.
In the Bill passed Tuesday, six castes — Jats, Jat Sikhs, Rors, Bishnois, Tyagis and Muslim Jats — have been included in 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 will be granted to these six castes in Backward Classes Block (C) for Class III and IV posts and 6 per cent in Class I and II posts. They will get 10 per cent reservation for admission in educational institutions. According to the Bill, the total reservation has touched 50 per cent for Class I and II government jobs and 67 per cent in Class III and IV government jobs.
The state government will request the Centre to include the Act in the 9th Schedule read with Article 31B of the Constitution to give it immunity from judicial review. The legal formality of the Governor’s assent to the Bill is awaited. “We had announced that we would bring this Bill in the ongoing budget session, and we have done it,” Khattar said while moving the legislation.
The government is contemplating bringing another Bill to increase the existing reservation of 5 per cent for Economically Backward Persons (EBP) to 7 per cent, Khattar said in the House. Although the ceiling of 50 per cent reservation has been breached, the government claims it is empowered to do so under “exceptional circumstances”.
The Jats had given an ultimatum till April 3 to the state government to meet their demand of reservation. A meeting of Jats from 13 states is likely to be held in New Delhi on April 3 to discuss the reservation issue and further course of action.
At least 30 people lost their lives and over 320 were injured, besides private and government property suffered losses to the tune of hundreds of crores of rupees, during the Jat agitation and subsequent violence in February.
Bill for statutory status to caste panel also passed
The Haryana Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed Backward Classes Commission Bill, 2016 to give statutory status to the Haryana Backward Classes Commission on the pattern of National Commission for Backward Classes. With the passing of the Bill, the advice of the Commission on matters connected to OBCs shall ordinarily be binding on the state government. The first Backward Classes Commission in Haryana was constituted in 1990. ENS