From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Article 16
Mains level : Equal opportunity enshrined in Constitution
The Jharkhand Assembly has passed a Bill, which provides 75% reservation for local people in the private sector up to ₹40,000 salary a month.
Try answering this PYQ first:
Q.One of the implications of equality in society is the absence of- (CSP 2018)
What is the move?
- Every employer shall register such employees receiving gross monthly salary as wages not more than ₹ 40,000 as the limit notified by the government from time to time on the designated portal within three months of the Act coming into force.
- Every employer shall fill up 75% of the total existing vacancies on the date of notification of this Act and subsequent thereto by local candidates with respect to such posts where the gross monthly salary or wages are not more than ₹40,000”.
- The Bill provides for the local MLA to supervise the employment procedure and issue directions to the employer concerned as it may deem fit.
Other such states
- Once notified, Jharkhand will become the third State in the country, after Andhra Pradesh and Haryana, to pass such law.
- In 2019, Andhra Pradesh passed such law, while in June last, Haryana passed law, reserving 75% quota for the local people in private jobs with monthly salary less than ₹50,000.
What is Quota for Locals?
Ans. Constitutional provision for Equal Treatment
- Article 16 of the Constitution guarantees equal treatment under the law in matters of public employment. It prohibits the state from discriminating on grounds of place of birth or residence.
- Article 16(2) states that “no citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State”.
- The provision is supplemented by the other clauses in the Constitution that guarantee equality.
- However, Article 16(3) of the Constitution provides an exception by saying that Parliament may make a law “prescribing” a requirement of residence for jobs in a particular state.
- This power vests solely in the Parliament, not state legislatures.
Why does the Constitution prohibit reservation based on domicile?
- When the Constitution came into force, India turned itself into one nation from a geographical unit of individual principalities and the idea of the universality of Indian citizenship took root.
- India has single citizenship, and it gives citizens the liberty to move around freely in any part of the country.
- Hence the requirement of a place of birth or residence cannot be qualifications for granting public employment in any state.
But are reservations not granted on other grounds such as caste?
- Equality enshrined in the Constitution is not mathematical equality and does not mean all citizens will be treated alike without any distinction.
- To this effect, the Constitution underlines two distinct aspects which together form the essence of equality law:
- Non-discrimination among equals, and
- Affirmative action to equalize the unequal
Supreme Court rulings on quota for locals
- The Supreme Court has ruled against reservation based on place of birth or residence.
- In 1984, ruling in Dr Pradeep Jain v Union of India, the issue of legislation for “sons of the soil” was discussed.
- The court expressed an opinion that such policies would be unconstitutional but did not expressly rule on it as the case was on different aspects of the right to equality.
- In a subsequent ruling in Sunanda Reddy v State of Andhra Pradesh (1995), the Supreme Court affirmed the observation in 1984 ruling to strike down a state government policy that gave 5% extra weightage to candidates.
- In 2002, the Supreme Court invalidated appointment of government teachers in Rajasthan in which the state selection board gave preference to “applicants belonging to the district or the rural areas of the district concerned”.
- In 2019, the Allahabad HC struck down a recruitment notification by the UP PSC which prescribed preference for women who are “original residents” of the UP alone.