The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed the the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019. The bill seeks to provide 10% reservations in aided and unaided institutions to the economically backward from upper castes. It was passed 323-3 in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
The Rajya Sabha Winter Session was extended by a day so that the bill could be introduced in the House. After it was passed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “delighted” at the move and praised the House for its “widespread support”.
10.35 pm: It was passed with 165 for it and 7 against.
10.32 pm: Modi says he is delighted the Rajya Sabha has passed the bill. “Glad to see such widespread support for the Bill.”
10.20 pm: The Rajya Sabha passes the bill, which will provide 10% reservation for economically weaker section of the society.
8.40 pm: Communist Party of India MP D Raja says the government’s attitude towards introducing the bill was “to undermine the Constitution and Parliament”.
“The Bill has been signed on January 7, the draft bill was passed on January 8 and on January 9 we are discussing it here,” he says, according to The Indian Express. “The intention behind this is to undermine the Constitution which has concerned many people in the country.”
8.37 pm: Congress MP Kumari Selja says questions the government on quota-based promotions. She says the government also needs to talk about women’s reservation. “The hasty amendment is part of a nefarious agenda of the RSS to finish off reservation.”
8.34 pm: Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel says the legislation was hasty and the full effect of it would be seen only after the elections, reports The Hindu.
7.22 pm: Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan says says the bill is for people earning from Rs 8 to Rs 8 lakh, reports The Hindu.
7.15 pm: Shiromani Akali Dal leader Naresh Gujral says the bill opens debate on religious minorities. “This bill will not make the youths happy as the government still needs to take more steps to incentivise the industries.”
7.10 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy says nowhere in the Constitution has “economically weaker section” been defined, reports The Hindu. “Now, for the bill, a new definition has been coined. I want an explanation for this,” he says, according to Hindustan Times.
7.02 pm: Sibal says the quota bill is flawed like the note ban. “This is another jumla by this government.”
“The Mandal Commission provision of 10% reservation for economically weaker category was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,” says Sibal. “If a nine-judge bench held it unconstitutional, how can you amend the Constitution?”
6.47 pm: “The quota bill excludes the poor from socially backward classes,” says Sibal. “The bill has excluded people who don’t get jobs under OBC or Dalit quota.”
6.44 pm: Sibal asks for the data based on which the 10% reservation and Rs 8 lakh limit was arrived upon, reports The Hindu. He claims only 45,000 jobs were added in the last five years, which means only 4,500 jobs available to the beneficiaries under the quota bill.
“Are you amending the Constitution for 4,500 jobs?” he asks. “While this country is losing jobs, which jobs are you going to ensure?”
6.41 pm: “The quota bill suffers from three huge flaws – Is the survey done properly? How was the data collected? How will it be implemented?” asks Sibal.
6.39 pm: Congress MP Kapil Sibal says his party supports the bill, but “saddened by the way it has been brought”, reports Hindustan Times. “It’s a very important bill, so it should have been sent to a select committee.”
6.14 pm: Union Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad says all members, except Kanimozhi, have supported the Centre’s move. “I don’t know whether Derek O’Brien has supported or not,” he says.
The 50% limit to providing quota is not mentioned in the Constitution, the Supreme Court had ruled it, Prasad says. “There are people from the other communities who are poor. Are they not supposed to get their chance?” he asks.
Minister of state for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel requests to extend the time of the House till business of the Rajya Sabha is concluded.
Prasad says 10% reservation to poor in general category will be applicable in central and state government jobs. He says the legislation gives powers to the states to decide on the economic criteria to define the beneficiaries, reports PTI.
6 pm: Kanimozhi asked the government what is the urgency in bringing in this bill. “The only thing I see is that in 100 days we have elections,” she adds.
Her speech was interrupted by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh who asked her, in Hindi, to conclude. Kanimozhi retorts, “Sir, can you talk to me in a language I can understand?” Chair switches to English and reminds her to conclude her speech.
5.45 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s MP Kanimozhi says she opposes the bill which has been brought to make a right wrong. The constitution and the legislation is being made a mockery of, she says. “This bill has been brought and forced upon Parliament overnight without being sent to the Standing Committee or select committee, without any member being given any time to reflect upon it.”
The aim of reservation is to make sure that the historic wrong done to people done in the name of religion and caste has to be made right, she says. “We have to understand, it is not economics. It is not that they were poor that they were denied their rights...it is because they were born into a particular caste, which some people thought was less than them,” Kanimozhi says.
She notes that there are not enough employment opportunities. “What is the point to bring in bill saying it is to help the economically depressed classes?”
When the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru moved the first amendment to the Constitution, he deliberately denied to include the word “economic” for reservation, the MP adds.
5.25 pm: YS Chowdary of the Telugu Desam Party points out the “irony” in bringing the bill at the fag end of the Parliament session. The Andhra Assembly has also recommended reservation for the Kapu community, he said. “We don’t know what is the fate of the bill,” he says. “The treasury bench is trying to bulldoze bill...This is not the right practice to follow a democratic set up.”
Compromising the parliamentary procedures is wrong, he adds. The criteria for economic backward category is very confusion, Chowdary says. “The bill should have been referred to a select committee for greater deliberations,” he adds.
The MP also adds that though the Telugu Desam Party wanted the bill to be sent to the select committee, due to the paucity of time, the party would like to support the bill unconditionally.
4.37 pm: Biju Janata Dal MP Prasanna Acharya says his party supports the quota bill, reports The Indian Express. Acharya, however, reiterates the AIADMK MP’s question if the House is competent to make such a law, reports The Hindu.
4.33 pm: “The youth of the country is asking where are the jobs,” says O’Brien. “You promised 2 crore jobs, instead you are answering with Pakodanomics...The government has a problem of making promises and not fulfilling it. Startup India, Digital India. This new scheme is called Cheat India.”
4.31 pm: O’Brien says at least 70% bills were passed with scrutiny under previous government, reports The Indian Express. “Under this government, only 20% have undergone scrutiny.”
4.20 pm: TMC leader Derek O’Brien says the quota bill is an “acknowledgement of guilt that we have not created any jobs” over the last four years, reports ANI. “It redefines India’s poverty line of Rs 32 a day, if we look at the number of Rs 8 lakhs a year, new poverty line is Rs 2,100 a day.”
4.17 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien says the quota bill is a betrayal to the unemployed and poor, reports The Hindu. “We are disgusted and angry that the parliamentary process is disrespected.”
4.14 pm: AIADMK members stage a walk out over the quota bill, saying it is not beneficial for the people of Tamil Nadu, reports The Indian Express.
4.06 pm: Navaneethakrishnan says additional 10% reservation will encroach the rights of people of Tamil Nadu. “We had quantifiable data to justify our reservation,” he says regarding the 69% reservation in the state. “What data do you have?”
3.57 pm: Navaneethakrishnan says the Parliament cannot create a law which violates the basic structure of the Constitution, reports Hindustan Times. “According to various judgements, this Parliament is not vested with constituent powers and hence can’t pass a bill which violates the basic structure of the constitution and reservation is a basic structure.”
3.46 pm: A Navaneethakrishnan of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam opposes the quota bill in the Rajya Sabha, reports The Hindu. “Reservation is only for those who faced discrimination historically,” he says. “The concept of reservation can be applied to a community or class, but the proposed bill is for individuals.”
3.40 pm: Yadav says OBCs should be given 54% reservation in proportion to their population, since “you [government] have broken the 50% reservation ceiling.”
3.38 pm: Yadav says jobs are being outsourced. “Will there be reservation in outsourced jobs? If there are no jobs, what is the use of reservation?” he asks.
3.34 pm: “This bill could have come any time,” says Yadav, according to Hindustan Times. The aim of this bill is 2019 election. If you had honesty, you could have introduced the bill two or three years ago.”
Yadav says 98% of upper caste people earn below the income cap mentioned in the bill. “How do you accommodate them in 10%,” Yadav asks.
3.29 pm: Samajwadi Party MP Ramgopal Yadav says his party supports the quota bill, reports The Hindu. He takes a dig at the government on introducing key bills as Money Bills to bypass the Rajya Sabha. “You could have brought it [quota bill] earlier as a money bill,” Yadav says.
3.24 pm: “You brought the [quota] bill in haste because you had to before the Model Code of Conduct comes into force, thinking that if not 2 crore [jobs] then let’s dangle a carrot in front of the public, show them another dream that Modiji made arrangements for their children’s employment,” says Sharma, according to The Indian Express.
“But the question is how many jobs are there?” asks Sharma. “Thirty four lakh jobs are there in the central government and they have managed to create only 95,000.”
3.09 pm: Sharma says the triple talaq bill was introduced “for politics”. “...You talk about Muslim women, but what about other women,” he asks. “We supported the quota bill because we also supported the issue.”
3.06 pm: Sharma says the government’s tendency to bypass legislative proceedings is deplorable. “First improve the economy, generate jobs...” he says. “Many big personalities of their party do not support reservation.”
3.03 pm: “You [BJP] would have never brought this [quota] bill if you won elections in MP [Madhya Pradesh], Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan,” claims Congress MP Anand Sharma. “Since you did not win, you thought of this.”
3 pm: Sharma says 11 million jobs were lost in the last four years, reports The Hindu. “How many people earn more than Rs 8 lakh?” he asks while questioning why the government took four years to introduce the quota bill which seeks to allow 10% reservation for economically backward upper castes.
2.55 pm: Congress MP Anand Sharma asks when will BJP’s “achhe din come”, reports News 18. “The nation is waiting,” he says in the Rajya Sabha. “We get to see PM Narendra Modi in several attires on TV these days from several places, but not in the House.”
2.41 pm: Jha attacks Congress President Rahul Gandhi over Rafale deal. Congress leader Anand Sharma says the comment should be expunged since Gandhi is not a member of the Rajya Sabha, reports The Indian Express.
2.34 pm: Rajya Sabha MP Prabhat Jha of the BJP says every party promises reservation to the poor of general category in their manifesto. “Only Narendra Modi fulfilled it,” says Jha. “Even Mandal Commission report and then Prime Minister PVR Narasimha Rao wanted reservation for poor among general category.”
2.29 pm: Singh says wrong information is being spread about the Citizenship Amendment Bill, reports Hindustan Times. “We have taken steps to strengthen border security to tackle infiltration.”
The home minister says more power will be given to Bodoland Territorial Council.
2.23 pm: Singh says the government will work to protect the identity of the people of Assam and the North East. “We want a peaceful situation in the North East and are in constant touch with the state governments.”
2.16 pm: “We have brought this [Citizenship Amendment] bill so that the minority immigrants from our neighbouring countries can live peacefully,” says Rajnath Singh in the Rajya Sabha. “They were being targeted because of their religion. We are aware of the concerns in the Northeast and would like to dispel the rumours over the Bill. This is not for Assam but for such immigrants across the country. Those affected by religious persecution can avail the citizenship across the country,” he says, according to The Indian Express.
2.16 pm: Rajya Sabha MP TK Rangarajan of the CPI(M) moves an amendment in The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, reports ANI.
2.14 pm: “Violence had been reported from Assam and other states,” says Singh, according to Hindustan Times. “The situation is now under control. If required, I will hold meetings with chief ministers of northeastern states.”
2.11 pm: Rajya Sabha resumes. Home Minister Rajnath Singh addresses member of the Upper House on the protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, reports The Indian Express.
12.37 pm: The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm following ruckus over the quota bill. Opposition MPs were shouting slogans as Union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot was speaking.
12.28 pm: After the Upper House reconvenes, the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks to provide 10% reservations to the economically backward from upper castes, has been tabled. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday night, with 323 members voting in favour and three against.
11.40 am: Rajya Sabha is adjourned till noon amid protests by Opposition members who question the manner in which the Winter Session has been extended by a day.
11.30 am: Congress leader Anand Sharma says that the way in which the House proceedings were extended without the consent of the Opposition parties was not right, ANI reports. “The situation now is such that there is no dialogue between the Opposition and the government,” he says. “The government is foremost responsible if the House doesn’t function.”
However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley blames the Opposition. “As per normal working days, we should have been working, on most of them the House stood adjourned,” he says. “There is one extra day to consider legislations.”
11.05 am: Bills up for discussion in the Rajya Sabha include the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, the Companies (Amendment) Bill and the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill.
Another important legislation that will come up in the Rajya Sabha is the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 in order to grant citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years, even if they do not possess the necessary documents.
11 am: The Centre on Tuesday had extended proceedings in the Rajya Sabha by a day as it sought to push through key legislation.