Oppn divided over further Parl scrutiny of Quota Bill

Oppn divided over further Parl scrutiny of Quota Bill

Social Justice Minister Thawarchand Gehlot and other MPS after Lok Sabha passes the bill to provide 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions to economically backward section in the general category, in Lok Sabha in New Delhi, Tuesday,

Differences surfaced among Opposition parties on Wednesday over sending the Constitution Amendment Bill to provide 10% quota for economically weaker sections to Select Committee for further Parliamentary scrutiny.

The motion piloted by DMK's Kanimozhi did not evoke much response from prominent Opposition parties like Congress, Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party as they "did not want to sent a signal that they are opposed" to the bill.

Kanimozhi was supported by the CPI(M), CPI, RJD and TDP and insisted that it should be voted before the discussion on the Bill starts. The motion got 18 votes while 155 voted against it. One MP abstained from voting.

A top Congress leader said they were not in favour of sending the Bill to Select Committee and wanted it to be passed as it had put the demand in its manifesto in 2014.

A senior Opposition leader told DH that parties like Congress cannot be seen opposing the Bill. "Supporting the demand for Select Committee, though it is a right thing to do, will be seen as opposing the Bill. Who wants to take that risk in an election year," he said.

While BJD is supporting the Bill, AIADMK walked out of the House in protest against the Bill. AAP also opposed the Bill.

Sources said the issue of referring the Bill to Select Committee was raised when Rajya Sabha Opposition leaders met in the morning to discuss the strategy for the day.

A section of the Opposition leaders felt that the government was "bulldozing" Bills without proper consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny. While they are in support of the quota bill, DMK and some other Opposition parties believe that it needs better scrutiny.

They said the BJP had majority in Lok Sabha and many Bills were passed without sending it to Paiamentary Standing Committees.

The quota bill was cleared by Union Cabinet on Monday and placed before Lok Sabha on Tuesday. It was passed on Tuesday late night.

In Rajya Sabha on Wednesday without referring to the quota bill, Congress' Deputy Leader Anand Sharma said the government was treating the Upper House as a "rubber stamp" and they would not allow any bill to be passed without proper Parliamentary scrutiny.

However, the DMK motion was defeated in the House during voting. The CPI(M)'s amendment seeking to provide reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS), Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in all private sector enterprises, including educational institutions, was also defeated.

At present, there is no quota for SCs, STs OBCs or EWS in private educational institutions or other organisations.