Parliament passes bill to extend SC-ST quota in legislatures

Parliament has passed the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill 2019 with Rajya Sabha approving it today.

The Upper House cleared the bill unanimously as all 163 present members voted in favour of the Bill.

The Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to extend the reservation for SCs and STs in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies by another ten years till January 25, 2030.

Replying to discussion on the Bill, Law and Justice Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, the government is not in favour of implementing creamy layer criteria in the reservation of SC-ST.

He said, this section has faced discrimination and are extremely deprived and government’s stand has been cleared in the Supreme Court. He also said, the government is trying to set up all India Judicial Service and it is of the view to provide reservation to SCs and STs in it.

He said, NDA government has formulated several measures for the welfare of the SC-ST communities. He reiterated government commitment towards reservation of these communities saying the NDA regime is not going to make any changes in it.

He said, the government acknowledges the contribution of Anglo-Indian communities in the field of education and armed forces.

The Minister said, the reservation in the legislature has empowered people from SC-ST communities and several prominent leaders of this section served the country in different capacities.

Intervening in the debate, Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said, the government has increased the allocation to SC-ST sub-plan to 76 thousand crore rupees which is more than the UPA regime.

Cutting across the party lines, opposition parties supported the Bill but raised questions over the non-inclusion of Anglo-Indians from the ambit of it.

When Minister was replying, members from Congress objected to some of his comments and staged a walkout for a brief period.

Earlier, initiating the discussion, Congress leader, P.L. Punia supported the bill while demanding reservation for SCs and STs in Rajya Sabha and State Legislative Councils.

He said, despite several measures, people of this section still facing discrimination in the society.

Leader of Opposition, Gulam Nabi Azad said, political empowerment is important for all communities and religion. He requested the government to restore the reservation of Anglo-Indians saying that it will be an injustice to exclude them.

Derek O’Brien of TMC asked the government why it is being increased only for the ten years. He said, instead of ten years, it must be extended to twenty to thirty years.

Ram Gopal Yadav of Samajwadi Party demanded that people from the Anglo-Indian community must be given the reservation. K.K. Ragesh of CPI(M) said, reasons for discontinuing reservation of Anglo-India community cannot be accepted.

He urged the government to reconsider the decision.

P. Wilson of DMK said, Anglo Indian communities played a vital role in the development of the nation, but the present NDA government is attempting to divide the country by excluding this community.

Veer Singh of BSP requested the government to fill up the backlog posts reserved for SC-ST communities and also extend the reservation to the private sector.

Kirodi Lal Meena of BJP said, BJP ideologues always worked for the upliftment of downtrodden.

He said, BJP always supported reservation and also extended it to the people belonging to upper caste categories.

Sarojini Hembram of BJD, RCP Singh of JD(U), Vijay Sai Reddy of YSR (Congress), Manoj Kumar RJD, Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party and Binoy Vishwam of (CPI) also participated in the discussion.

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