RS nod to SC/ST quota bill

New Delhi: The Constitution amendment bill providing for quota in promotions for SCs and STs in government jobs was on Monday passed by Rajya Sabha with an overwhelming support in which the Samajwadi Party was isolated.

The Constitution (117th Amendment) bill got the backing of 206 members while 10 voted against the legislation in a House of 245. A total of 216 members were present.

While UPA ally Samajwadi Party strongly opposed the bill, another outside ally of the government pushed for it, compelling the government to toe its stand. Nine SP members voted against the bill along with an Independent Md Adeeb.

All four members of Shiv Sena, which was also opposed to the Bill, were not present in the House.

A last-minute attempt by SP to defer consideration of the bill by sending it to the Parliamentary Standing for indepth consideration was rejected.

Contending that his party is not against quota, Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) said as far as reservation in jobs at the entry level is concerned, it is justifiable but after that people should be treated equally.

The party asked the government to rethink on the measure, warning that it can have very serious fall-out and may be challenged in court.

To garner maximum support, government incorporated some crucial elements like 22 per cent cap on promotions for which consideration of Annual Confidential Report (ACR) will be crucial.

Reeling out figures, Narayanasamy pointed out that discrimination against the SCs/STs/OBCs continue and they are inadequately represented in the top bureaucracy.

He said quota in promotion existed since 1995 but the decision in Indira Sawhney case put spokes in it.