New Delhi: The issue of a fundamental right for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) to claim reservation in promotion took political centre stage on Monday and rocked both Houses of Parliament in the ongoing budget session for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
The central point of the appeals at the apex court is whether state governments are bound to make reservations in public posts and whether their decision to not provide reservations can be only on the basis of quantifiable data relating to adequacy of representation of people belonging to SC and ST communities.
Key Opposition parties led by the Congress criticized the Union government, claiming it had failed to defend the reservation system and demanded that a review petition should be filed in the apex court over its order.
National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners like Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Republican Party of India (Athawale) too demanded that the government intervene.
“Every institution is being broken, they do not allow us to speak in Parliament. They put judiciary into pressure and all pillars of democracy are getting affected," senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha member Rahul Gandhi told reporters on Monday. The Congress would not allow the move to go through.
Social justice and empowerment minister Thawarchand Gehlot responded on government’s behalf in both Houses of Parliament where he said it was committed for the welfare of SCs, STs and backward classes and that the “highest level" of the government is considering it.
“This issue is extremely significant and keeping that in mind the highest level of the government is discussing it. We are also clarifying that neither the Union government was made a party in this matter nor any affidavit was sought from it," Gehlot said.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government filed a special leave petition on 14 November 2019 in the Supreme Court on which the judgement has come.
K.C. Venugopal, Congress’s general secretary in charge of organization, said that his party would file a privilege motion against Gehlot for misleading the Lok Sabha.
In the backdrop of increasing pressure from both opposition parties and allies, the BJP has given a whip to its Rajya Sabha members to be present in the House on Tuesday. It wasn’t immediately clear on Monday night whether this was related to the uproar in Parliament or a different issue.
PTI contributed to this story.