The Karnataka Assembly today unanimously passed a bill aimed at determination of seniority of government servants promoted on the basis of reservation to post of civil services of the state.
Popularly known as "SC/ST promotions bill", it is titled the 'Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (to the post in the civil services of the state) Bill, 2017'.
The government had earlier proposed amendment to the 'Karnataka Determination of Seniority of Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation Act, 2002' which was seen as an escape route to the February 9 Supreme Court verdict that had struck down reservation in promotions for SC/ST employees, by promulgating an ordinance.
The present Bill was introduced after the government failed to get the Governor's approval to the ordinance and to avoid demoting employees.
Replying to the debate, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister TB Jayachandra said that the Bill was being introduced after consulting legal experts.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also said that the Bill has been introduced to protect the interest of the SC and ST communities. The bill was introduced in the assembly on November 14.
Complying with the apex court's order, the government had conducted a study on backwardness of SCs and STs, inadequacy of their representation in the state civil services and the effect of reservation in promotion in the state administration, by a committee under Additional Chief Secretary K Ratna Prabha.
Stating that the overall efficiency of the administration had not been affected by reservation in promotion, the committee in its report recommended its continuation within the limit that will not hamper the over all efficiency.
This Bill provides consequential seniority to persons promoted on the basis of policy of reservation in the state since 1978 to ensure adequate representation of SCs and STs across all departments.
Speaking during the debate, Opposition BJP leader Jagadish Shettar said that he and his party were in support of the Bill as it supports the upliftment of SC/ST communities.
However, questioning the government about bringing the Bill when the review petition is still pending, he asked the government whether the it overrides the court's order.
Taking a similar stand, JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy asked whether the Bill was just an attempt to show to the community that the government is with them. He said the Bill might be challenged in the courts.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Second Amendment) Bill,2017, aimed at facilitating traditional sport of Kambala or bulls race or bullock cart race was also passed today.