In support of two Bills that increase reservation to 76 per cent, Chhattisgarh’s ruling Congress will take out a mega rally on January 3 to the Raj Bhavan in Raipur as Governor Anusiya Uikey has refused to give her assent to the legislation but raised 10 questions, according to Sushil Shukla, chief of the party’s state media cell.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Singh Baghel called Uikey “egoist” on Monday, accusing her of stalling the Bills over “some excuse” and attempting to weaken a statutory body. “My officers asked me not to reply to the 10 questions as there is no arrangement in the Constitution for this. Still I replied to the questions to satisfy her ego, so that the Bills benefiting over 2.75 crore people would be passed.
But now she says she will get a legal advisor to look into it. Is the legal advisor bigger than the Vidhan Sabha now?” he said.
The chief minister said that only the high court or the Supreme Court could scrutinise the executive’s decisions. “Will the advisor do their work now? It is very unfortunate this is the reason why the Bills are being stalled,” he added.
Baghel told the media on December 25 that since his government had replied to the governor’s questions, she should sign the Bills. “She had said she would not sign (the Bills) till she got answers, but now answers have been sent, so she must now sign them,” he said. Uikey later said she would go through the replies and take a decision on the Bills.
The chief minister and the governor are in a tug of war over the Chhattisgarh Public Service (Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes Reservation) Amendment Bill and the Chhattisgarh Educational Institutions (Reservation in admission) Amendment Bill, passed by the Assembly on December 2. They provide for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions in proportion to the population of different categories, taking the total reservation in the state to 76 per cent.
As per the Bills, scheduled tribes will get a quota of 32 per cent, OBCs 27 per cent, scheduled castes 13 per cent in public employment and admissions in educational institutions. Four per cent has been provisioned for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS).
However, Uikey has refused to sign on the Bills and asked the following questions of the state government: 1) Did the government collate quantitative data on schedule castes and scheduled tribes before making the Bills? 2) The cumulative reservation limit for government jobs is 50 per cent and can be increased only in rare cases. Was any study done on this? 3) In September, the Chhattisgarh High Court refused to increase reservation to 58 per cent, terming it as unconstitutional. Within two and a half months, this Bill is again being passed. So what data do you have on the exceptional circumstances that have risen for passing these Bills? 4) Give data on how SCs and STs are deprived of social, economic and educational growth in the state? 5)Was any committee formed to decide on this reservation? 6) Provide the government’s commission report that was presented before the council of ministers. 7) Please provide an opinion given by the government’s law department on the Bills 8) Is there a provision in the law to give reservation to the economically weaker sections? 9) Why are the sanctioned posts for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes not getting filled? 10) As per the Constitution, the efficiency of the administration must be maintained while giving reservation. Is there any report to prove that the efficiency will be maintained?
(With inputs from PTI)