New Delhi, Dec 17: The Rajya Sabha tonight passed the Constitution amendment bill providing for quota for SCs and STs in government promotions by an overwhelming vote of 206 in the 245-member House.
10 votes went against the bill, which was strongly opposed by UPA ally Samajwadi Party. They included nine SP members and an Independent Mohammed Adeeb.
The Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012, required two-third majority to be passed in the house.
All four members of Shiv Sena, which also opposed the Bill, were not present in the House.
The bill provides for reservation proportionate to population of SCs and STs against the backdrop of Supreme Court quashing such a decision of the Uttar Pradesh government earlier this year.
Replying to the two-day debate, Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said the bill seeks to correct the “inadequacy” in representation of SCs/STs in higher positions in government jobs.
To garner maximum support, government incorporated some crucial elements like 22 per cent cap on promotions for which consideration of Annual Confidential Report (ACR) will be crucial.
Narayanasamy said quota in promotion existed since 1995 but the decision in the Indira Sawhney case put spokes in it.
Noting that the Supreme Court has asked for quantifiable data on it, he said, “From our side we are convinced that they are backward per se. Government is committed to provide reservation in promotion. This is commitment of our government and the party. We are for SCs/STs and OBCs.”
Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley sought an assurance from the government that the amendments will not affect people who have already been promoted since 1995.
Narayanasamy replied that the government will write in this regard to state governments so that people who have been promoted are “not adversely affected”.
The Bill provides for amendments to Article 16(4) of the Constitution that will allow states to reserve seats in promotion for SCs and STs without collecting data to show the backwardness of class and inadequacy of that class in public appointments.
Samajwadi Party, which is strongly opposed to a bill asked the government to rethink on it, warning that it can have very serious fall-out and may be challenged in court.