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Haryana’s quota law

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Haryana’s quota law:


Context:

The Haryana government recently notified a new law that requires 75% of private sector jobs in the state reserved for local candidates.

  • In July 2019, the Andhra Pradesh government had passed a similar law, which was challenged in court.

About Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020:

  1. It requires private companies to set aside for domiciles 75% of jobs up to a monthly salary of Rs 50,000 or as may be notified by the government from time to time.
  2. The law is applicable to all the companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, partnership firms and any person employing 10 or more persons and an entity, as may be notified by the government from time to time shall come under the ambit of this Act.

What are the legal issues in such laws?

  1. The question of domicile reservation in jobs: While domicile quotas in education are fairly common, courts have been reluctant in expanding this to public employment. It raises questions relating to the fundamental right to equality of citizens.
  2. The issue of forcing the private sector to comply with reservations in employment. For mandating reservation in public employment, the state draws its power from Article 16(4) of the Constitution. But, the Constitution has no manifest provision for private employment from which the state draws the power to make laws mandating reservation.
  3. It may not be able to withstand judicial scrutiny on the touchstone of Article 19(1)(g).

What is the government’s rationale in bringing such laws?

  1. Public sector jobs constitute only a minuscule proportion of all jobs. Therefore, talks about extending the legal protections to the private sector to really achieve the constitutional mandate of equality for all citizens has been on.
  2. Since private industries use public infrastructure in many ways — from accessing land through subsidised allotment to receiving credit from public banks, tax exemptions and in many cases subsidies for fuel etc, the state has a legitimate right to require them to comply with the reservation policy.

Do other countries take such affirmative action in employment?

Affirmative action is adopted in many countries in the context of race and gender.

  1. For example, in the US, although there is no statutory requirement for employers to have quotas, courts can order monetary damages and injunctive relief, including “such affirmative action as may be appropriate”, for victims of discrimination.
  2. The Employment Equity Act in Canada also protects minority groups, especially aboriginals from discrimination in federally regulated industries, even in the private sector.

Concerns and challenges ahead:

  1. It poses challenges for industrial development and private investment in Haryana.
  2. It could also provide a shield to some firms indulging in unethical practices to retrench the existing workforce.
  3. Investors and businesses may start moving out of the state in search for best human resources.
  4. Against the spirit of the Constitution, which gives citizens of India the freedom to work anywhere in the country.

Sources: the Hindu.