Punjab Assembly passes motion to extend quota for SC/ST for 10 years more

CHANDIGARH, JANUARY 17: The Punjab Vidhan Sabha, led by Leader of the House and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on Friday unanimously passed a motion to ratify the 126th Constitutional Amendment to extend reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Punjab for another 10 years.

Moving a motion in the House, the Chief Minister said the special two-day session had been specially convened for the extremely important agenda of ratifying the amendments to the Constitution of India, falling within the purview of clause (d) of proviso to clause (2) of Article 368, in line with the Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill, 2019 as passed by the both Houses of Parliament.

Noting that the founding fathers of the Constitution led by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had provided a term of ten years of reservation for scheduled castes and scheduled tribe, the Chief Minister said the reservation had been extended by successive union governments since then. However, despite improvement in the socio-economic status of these communities over the past 70 years, due to anti-discrimination policies and reservation in political representation and jobs, they continued to be not at par with the rest of the society, he said.

As a result, he said, there was a strong case to extend the reservation for Scheduled Castes by another ten year to achieve the unfinished task of development of these poor and downtrodden sections of the society.

“I am aware that there may be many other issues concerning development of SCs and my Government is fully committed to that, but today this resolution may be adopted unanimously without any second thought,” asserted Captain Amarinder, underlining the need for all to collectively renew their commitment to the welfare and upliftment of these groups through proper education, training and representation in jobs.

Notably, Article 334 of the Constitution of India provides reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and special representation of the Anglo Indians in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. Initially, the reservation of seats was to cease in 1960 but this was extended to 1970 by the 8th Constitutional Amendment. The period of reservation was subsequently extended to 1980 and 1990 by the 23rd and 45th Constitutional Amendments respectively. The 62nd Amendment extended the period of reservation to 2000, which was further extended to 2010 and 2020 by 79th and 95th Amendments respectively. The reservation and special representation, which was extended vide 95th Amendment for ten years, now expires on January 25, 2020.

The Amendment Bill 126 had been passed by the Lok Sabha on December 10, 2019 and by the Rajya Sabha on December 12, 2019.