The Chhattisgarh Assembly has unanimously passed two amendment bills related to reservation in government jobs and admission in educational institutions in proportion to population of different categories, taking the total quota in the state to 76 per cent.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday tabled the Chhattisgarh Public Service (Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes Reservation) Amendment Bill and Chhattisgarh Educational Institutions (Reservation in admission) Amendment Bill, which were passed after a debate of more than five hours.
As per the bills, Scheduled Tribes will get quota of 32 per cent, Other Backward Classes 27 per cent, Scheduled Caste 13 per cent, while 4 per cent has been provisioned for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in public employment and admissions in educational institutions.
Answering the discussion on the bills, Baghel said the previous BJP governments could not form a Quantifiable Data Commission, which was constituted by his government in 2019 to survey people belonging to OBC and EWS categories in the state.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the commission's process, the chief minister added.
The commission recently submitted its recommendations to the state government, according to which the state's population includes 42.41per cent OBCs and 3.48 per cent EWSs.
Baghel further said he has requested MLAs of all parties to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the leadership of the Assembly speaker and request him to enlist these amendment bills under Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.
Leader of Opposition Narayan Chandel and other opposition MLAs said the Quantifiable Data Commission report was not tabled in the Assembly.
If the government claims reservation has been given based on the proportion of population, then there is no specific data in this regard, they added.
BJP members also brought amendment proposals to the bills seeking 16 per cent reservation for the SC category and 10 per cent quota for the EWS.
In reply, Baghel said census has not been carried out in the country after 2011, and reservations for SCs can be amended accordingly when the exercise is done.
The Chhattisgarh High Court had, in September this year, set aside the Raman Singh-headed state government's 2012 order to raise quota to 58 per cent in government jobs and admissions in educational institutions. The HC had said reservation exceeding the 50 per cent ceiling was unconstitutional.
According to the 2012 amendment, the quota for SCs was slashed by 4 per cent to 12 percent, while reservation for Scheduled Tribes (STs) was increased by 12 percent, that is from 20 per cent to 32 per cent.
The reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) was kept unchanged at 14 per cent. The amended quota was effective in the state till the HC's order in September.
After the passage of bills, Baghel brought a resolution urging the Union government to take necessary steps to enlist the two amendment bills under the 9th Schedule of the Constitution.
BJP members did not take part in the discussion on the resolution and staged a walkout saying how such a resolution can be brought in the Assembly when the bills are yet to get the governor's nod. Later, the resolution was passed by the Assembly.
After completing the listed business for the day, Speaker Charandas Mahant adjourned the House till January 2 next year.
After the session got over, five ministers met Governor Anusuiya Uikey to urge her to give her assent to the amendment bills so they become Acts.