Bharatiya Janata Party ally Lok Janshakti Party on Sunday urged the Centre to ensure that reservation benefits for those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes continue to remain. The party’s leader Chirag Paswan expressed his displeasure after the Supreme Court on Friday said it cannot force states to provide reservations unless the data showed an imbalance in representation for certain groups in government service.
“Lok Janshakti Party does not agree with such findings of court,” Paswan tweeted. “LJP demands Government of India to restore reservation as provided under the Constitution of India.” In another tweet, Paswan said the ruling was “entirely against the concept of reservation”. The court had noted that reservations for promotions in government jobs were not a fundamental right.
The party’s founder and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan said he had called for a meeting with SC and ST members of the Parliament at his home on Monday. However, it is unclear whether the matter will be discussed as it is reportedly a regular meeting with the MPs of the communities.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the Centre should either file a review plea of the Supreme Court order or modify the Constitution. “At least now the Government of India should wake up,” he said at a press conference, according to PTI. “They can either take up this matter and amend the Constitution related to Article 16(4)(b) or (c) after consulting the law department or file a review petition, asking that a Constitution bench should hear the case.”
The Supreme Court delivered the judgement after hearing pleas on reservations for members of the the SC and ST communities in promotions to assistant civil engineer posts in the Public Works Department of the Uttarakhand government. The court said that while Articles 16(4) and 16(4A) of the Constitution give states the power to make such reservations, it is so only “if in the opinion of the state they are not adequately represented in the services of the state”. However, the states would have to justify its decision if it was legally challenged.
A five-judge bench of the top court had said in 2018 that the “creamy layer” among castes is not entitled to reservations in government jobs. In December last year, the Centre filed a plea requesting that a seven-judge bench review the verdict.