With government jobs a big political issue, Dushyant kept pushing for the quota after he joined hands with the BJP to form an alliance government, with the Manohar Lal Khattar-led government finally managing to get a Bill cleared for the same in November 2020.
The law had come into force in January 2021, and a stay on it by the Punjab and Haryana High Court a year later was set aside by the Supreme Court.
Soon after the court order came Friday scrapping the reservation, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda said: “Either that law was not made mindfully — as it was just a show-off — or it was not (properly) defended by the Haryana government. The BJP and JJP were allied on two things – Rs 5,100 old age pension, and 75% reservation. Neither that pension promise has been implemented in the past four years, nor has this been implemented. This alliance is not for reservation or pension, but commission of corruption.”
Chautala stated that they were waiting for the detailed court order, and that the matter was not over. “We will move the Supreme Court and file an SLP after thoroughly examining the High Court order,” he said.
JJP chief spokesperson Deepkamal Saharan said: “We had got relief from the Supreme Court on this issue earlier and we are hopeful for the same this time too.”
The High Court order comes as Haryana enters election year. Chautala’s younger brother and JJP leader Digvijay Chautala has been trying to mobilise college students behind their political outfit.
While the JJP may bear the brunt of the impact, the BJP too will be worried. Figures released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) earlier this year put Haryana at No. 1 in unemployment, with the joblessness rate at over 37%. While the government has contested this, claiming the rate to be around 6%, the Opposition has taken up the CMIE numbers.
The figures came around the same time as, citing “economy measures”, the Haryana government announced the abolition of all posts, vacant or unfilled, in the last two years in all departments, boards and corporations, with immediate effect.
The law, opposition
The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020, set aside 75% of private sector jobs offering a monthly salary of less than Rs 30,000 (revised downwards from Rs 50,000) for locals. It covered all companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, partnership firms, as well as any person employing 10 or more persons on salary, wages or other remuneration.
The law had been challenged by the Faridabad Industries Association and other such bodies, particularly in the industrial belts of Haryana in Faridabad and Manesar. The petition argued that private sector jobs were based on skills, and that employees enjoyed a fundamental right to work in any part of India. “The Act of the respondent (government)… is a violation of the federal structure framed by the Constitution of India, whereby the government cannot act contrary to public interest and cannot benefit one class,” the petition said.
The Gurgaon Industrial Association contended that the Haryana policy was an infringement on the constitutional rights of employers.
Among those who had opposed the law was JJP Narnaund MLA Ram Kumar Gautam, who called it an “absolutely ridiculous legislation” that was “100% wrong”. He also warned that such a law could trigger retaliatory restrictions in other states, which would result in “complete chaos”.
After the High Court stayed the law in February 2022, the move had been welcomed by industry associations. Manmohan Gaind, general secretary, Manesar Industries Welfare Association, had called it a “great move”.