RS rejects resolution to treat SC, ST equally across states

NEW DELHI: The first day for the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh was eventful as he followed the rule book and had a last laugh, even as the government faced embarrassment as it had to vote against a private resolution seeking to amend the Constitution to ensure that SC/ST people are not denied reservation in any state.

With the government’s failed attempt to repel the voting, the resolution was defeated in the House amid opposition charges that the government was “Dalit-virodhi” and “Manuwadi”.

The private resolution, moved by Samajwadi Party MP Vishambhar Prasad Nishad, said when people of schedule castes and schedule tribes migrate from one state to another in search of employment and settle there permanently, they are rendered ineligible for availing reservation benefits. The resolution sought amending the Constitution to ensure that persons belonging to SCs and STs in one state should be regarded the same across the country to avail the benefits of reservation.

Dissatisfied with the response from the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot on the resolution, the opposition insisted for voting and later a division on the bill.

Amid the treasury benches protest, Deputy Chairman Harivansh, who was then presiding over the House, ordered the lobbies to be cleared for voting even as senior ministers loudly objected to the move.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad intervened and said the rules do not permit voting on a resolution and it was “unprecedented”.

However, Deputy Chairman said “Once the process (of voting) is started, it cannot be stopped.” The opposition MPs welcomed the ruling with thumping of desks.

The resolution got 32 votes in favour and 66 against with the government benches suddenly witnessing a full strength soon after the order for voting was announced.

The resolution highlighted the people belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or Denotified Castes were being deprived of facilities and concessions and neglected because of the lack of a uniform reservation system in the entire country.

Intervening in the debate Gehlot urged the members to withdraw the resolution saying “there is a process laid out by Parliament for inclusion and exclusion of caste in list of SCs, STs and OBCs.”

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