New Delhi:  Rajya Sabha on Wednesday witnessed high drama as a scuffle broke out between SP and BSP members when the government introduced a contentious Constitution amendment bill to provide reservation in promotion to SCs and STs in government jobs.

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The bill, which circumvents a Supreme Court order quashing such a decision of Uttar Pradesh government in April, seeks to bring certainty and clarity in the matter by substituting a clause of Article 16 of the Constitution.

Scuffle in Upper House

The scuffle broke out as soon as Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked the government to move the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill, 2012.

Members of SP, a party opposed to the bill, were on their feet and party MP Naresh Agrawal proceeded towards the Well.  He was encountered by BSP member Avatar Singh Karimpuri, who grabbed the SP member by his collar to prevent him from trooping into the Well.

Quota Bill

  • The bill, if passed, will enable the government to continue the scheme of reservation in promotion for the SC/ST as it existed since 1995.
  • The amendment will give retrospective effect to the proposed amended clause (4A) of Article 16 with effect from the date of its coming into force originally on June 17, 1995.
    The original clause introduced in 1995 said: "Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotion, with consequential seniority, to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes which, in the opinion of the State, are not adequately represented in the services under the State."
  • The amended Article says, "Notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in the Constitution, the SCs and the STs notified under Article 341 and Article 342, respectively, shall be deemed to be backward and nothing in this Article or in Article 335 shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotions, with consequential seniority, to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the SCs and the STs to the extent of the percentage of reservation provided to the SCs and STs in the services of the State."

At this, other members from the BSP including Brajesh Pathak immediately intervened and held back Karimpuri. Tempers ran high as the scuffle continued for a few minutes before Karimpuri was finally made to take his seat. Soon marshals were called in the House.

Amid the commotion, the bill was introduced by Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was present when the incident took place.

Six SP members including Ramgopal Yadav and Agrawal then rushed to the Well shouting slogans saying promotion in reservations would not be allowed.

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Members from the BJP continued with their protest over the coal block allocation issue but they chose not to troop into the well on Wednesday. They kept standing and shouting slogans seeking the Prime Minister's resignation.

SP members, who were in the well protesting against the quota bill, rushed towards the treasury benches as soon as the Chair asked Narayanasamy to introduce the legislation.

Congress tries hard to pacify

Congress members, however, tried to pacify the agitated MPs from SP, which is supporting UPA government from outside. As Agrawal and Karimpuri pushed each other in the aisle, other members looked stunned.

Agrawal, who was attempting to reach the Chair apparently to snatch papers from Kurien, was prevented from doing so by the marshals.

Even as the high drama continued, Narayanasamy introduced the bill in the din, which was welcomed by the BSP members including Mayawati with the thumping of desk. As soon as the bill was introduced, Kurien adjourned the House till 2 PM.

When the House adjourned after the Bill was introduced, some BSP members including Satish Mishra and Brajesh Pathak went to thank Narayanasamy. Mishra and Narayanasamy were also seen talking to Agrawal in a bid to mollify him.

Present form unacceptable: Mulayam Singh

Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party (SP) said it will hold street protests against the UPA government introducing the quota bill.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav told reporters outside the Parliament House, soon after the bill was introduced, that his party would oppose the draft law in its present form.

The party is demanding that quotas, as provided for scheduled castes and tribes in the present bill, also be provided to other backward castes.

"We will go to the people against the (promotions quota) bill," said Mulayam Singh Yadav.

"No one will tolerate when a junior is made a senior and a senior is made a junior," he added.

(Agencies)

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