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Aug 25, 2012 at 01:31pm IST

Attorney General says quota in promotions not legal, may be struck down by SC

New Delhi: Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati has reportedly written to the Law Ministry on reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in job promotions, pointing out that the proposal is not legally possible. Sources say that Vahanvati has told the Law Ministry that reservation for SCs/ STs in promotions could be struck down by the Supreme Court.

The government is in favour of reservation for the SCs/ STs in job promotions. Following the all-party meeting on August 21, Minister of State for PMO V Narayanasamy said that the government was ready to bring in constitutional amendments on the issue.

The minister, however, said that no time frame had been set for the implementation of the quota.

Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the all-party meeting that the government would bring legally-sustainable amendment very soon to provide quota to SCs and STs in government job promotions.

Supporting the move, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said even her party had asked the government to amend the Constitution to provide the quota.

Following the meeting, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister further said, "Almost every party in the meeting supported the decision."

In the meeting, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan also requested the government to bring a bill for the reservation of SCs and STs in promotion of jobs.

Paswan said that while there was no opposition from any party on the issue, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted more time for discussion on the issue. The BJP said that it would take a decision on the issue only after seeing the bill.

However, the opposition for the government on the issue came from the Samajwadi Party, which supports the UPA government. The party claimed that the proposed bill would only add to the existing inequality.

Though in a run up to the 2014 elections, the government announced that it was open to a legally sustainable amendment to offer reservation in promotions to SCs and STs, the problem is not everyone is on board. The Samajwadi Party, which banks on its OBC votebank, is also against the proposal.

However, sources have told CNN-IBN that the government is working on a fresh draft to extend the offer to OBC as well. With this the Congress hopes to tap at least over 45 per cent of the SC and ST votebank in rural areas and over 26 per cent of OBC votebank in rural India.

The worrying factors for the Congress these days are:

It is losing out its traditional Muslim votebank to SP, BSP and now the Trinamool Congress has also pitched in.

The urban middle class which had voted for Manmohan Singh in 2009 is disenchanted.

Rahul Gandhi's Dalit politics has failed to take off.

The youth agenda of the Rahul brigade shows little sign of kicking off.