Hours after the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday granted an interim stay on a Haryana law providing 75 per cent reservation for state residents in private sector jobs, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said his government will fight the case strongly.
Haryana’s Additional Advocate General Jagbir Singh Malik had earlier in the day said the state will be filing a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the order before the Supreme Court.
The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020 had come into force on January 15 and it applies to state residents with a monthly income of less than Rs 30,000.
The HC order granting the stay came on pleas filed by an industries association from Faridabad and other associations from Haryana, which dubbed the law as unconstitutional.
“The High Court has granted stay, but we will fight the case strongly,” Mr Khattar told reporters in Karnal.
Replying to a question, Mr Khattar said, “We have been striving for employment opportunities for Haryanavi youth”.
The Chief Minister recalled that a few years ago petitions were filed against a Haryana law, which fixed minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls, but later the Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of that law.
“Even at that time we moved the Supreme Court and that law was upheld and later implemented,” Mr Khattar said.
Likewise, in this case too we will fight it strongly, the Chief Minister added.
After the High Court granted the interim stay, Deputy Chief Minister and JJP leader Dushyant Chautala tweeted, “We will continue to fight for employment opportunities of Haryanvi youth #75%reservation”.
Jannayak Janta Party leader Digvijay Chautala said the stay should not be seen as a setback in any manner and added the government will file its reply.
Meanwhile, the Congress slammed the state’s BJP-JJP government over the issue, with senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda criticising it for failing to defend the law in the court.
Mr Hooda said the state government completely failed on the unemployment front.
“First the BJP, and then the BJP-JJP coalition, have not been able to formulate any effective policy to overcome unemployment. To divert attention from this, the government then gave the ‘jumla’ of giving 75 per cent reservation to the youth of the state in private jobs, but this government could not even defend this in court,” he said in a statement.
Citing the latest data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, he said, “The youth of Haryana is facing almost three and a half times more unemployment than the whole country’s average but while shunning its responsibility, the state government is turning away from this reality.” “Instead of accepting the truth, the government is rejecting the figures of the CMIE while the BJP is seeking votes in UP on the basis of the data of this institution,” he said.
“It is a matter of great surprise that the government would neither accept the CMIE figures nor the official figures of the National Statistical Office nor would it itself have released any clear official figures on unemployment,” the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly said.
Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja said the intentions of the BJP-JJP government were in doubt from the very beginning.
“This is the reason why the government did not fight the case strongly in the court,” Ms Selja said in a tweet.
Confederation of Indian Industry (Haryana) Chairman Rajiv Gandhi said ever since the enactment of this Act, the CII has had various discussions with the government.
“The CII instead proposed to focus more on making Haryana youth more skilled to make them more employable. The CII has always assured the state government of its support for enhancing the employability of the state’s youth. This rather is an opportunity for industry and industry associations to come forward and collaborate with the state government for making the youth of Haryana more employable,” he said in a statement.
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