India’s Parliament has added a new chapter to the reservation laws in the country with the approval of the 124th Constitution Amendment Bill. The Bill seeks to provide 10% reservation in government jobs and education for the economically weaker sections.
This has come about 30 years after the introduction of the Mandal Commission recommendations in the Parliament.
The 124th Constitution Amendment Bill
The Bill brings an amendment in Article 15 of the Indian Constitution as it adds a clause allowing the states to make “a special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections of citizens”.
The special provision would be applicable for public employment (government jobs) as well as admissions to educational institutions. This would include private institutions, whether aided by the state or not, other than the minority educational centres.
This reservation would be in addition to the existing reservations and subject to a maximum of up to 10% for the economically weaker section category.
The Bill In Parliament
Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot had introduced the 124th Constitution Amendment Bill assuring that the existing reservation to other sections of the society would not be affected by the new law.
To the Opposition who questioned the timing of the ruling party to present the bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad hit back saying that “sixes are hit in the slog overs” of a cricket match and “more sixes will come”.
After a nine-hour long debate, the bill was approved by the Rajya Sabha with members voting 165-7 in favour of the Bill late on Wednesday evening.
The Lok Sabha had already passed the Bill, with 323 voting in support while three voted against it. It will become an Act once it receives the assent of President Ram Nath Kovind.
A Historic Step, Says PM Modi
Applauding the approval of the 124th Constitutional Amendment Bill providing 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections, PM Narendra Modi called it a historic step for the uplift of the poor and a reflection of the Government’s commitment to ‘SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas’.
He described the passing of the amendment bill as a victory for social justice.