December 6, 2021

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Defend reservation rights of Valmikis, Mazhabi Sikhs: Captain to Channi

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Defend reservation rights of Valmikis, Mazhabi Sikhs: Captain to Channi
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Defend reservation rights of Valmikis, Mazhabi Sikhs: Captain to Channi
Defend reservation rights of Valmikis, Mazhabi Sikhs: Captain to Channi

CHANDIGARH: Former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday urged his successor Charanjit Singh Channi to “strongly defend the reservation within reservation” for the Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs of the state for direct recruitment in various government jobs.
He said he had in 2006, personally ensured the passage of a legislation in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to secure and safeguard the reservation rights of the Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs, since they fall at the bottom of the pyramid and mostly remain left out from the benefit due to their extreme educational and economic backwardness.
Giving brief background of the issue, he said that it was during Giani Zail Singh’s regime in 1975, that Punjab government, through a circular, had reserved 50% jobs within the reserved quota for the Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs, since it was seen that they were not able to avail the benefits for the Scheduled Castes as compared to other reserved castes.
Captain added the circular was struck down by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 25, 2006. He recalled his government took legislative route to protect and safeguard the reservation rights of the Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs and enacted, “the Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act 2006 just like the Abrogation of Water Sharing Agreements Act, enacted after the Supreme Court ruled against Punjab on the SYL issue. The Punjab Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act was notified on October 5, 2006.
However, Section 4(5) of the Act, which provided 50% reservations to Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs, was struck down by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on March 29, 2010. The said order was stayed by the Supreme Court of India on August 30, 2010.
As of now, the former CM said, due to the SC stay, the Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs are entitled to 50% reservation within the reservation for getting government jobs in Punjab.
But, he added, he had learnt that some influential sections within the government were not keen to retain the “reservation within reservation” benefit for the Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs in the state. Hence, the government was being advised by these influential sections not to pursue the case in the SC where it is scheduled to come up before a larger Division Bench. This, he warned, will be gross denial of justice to Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs, who remain socially, economically and educationally most backward and downtrodden.
Captain said, when the matter came up for hearing before the SC Division Bench in August 2020, he had personally given instructions to ensure that the rights of the Valmikis and the Mazhabi Sikhs are defended properly and strongly. He hoped that the state government will defend the case the same way when it comes up for hearing before another Division Bench, which is being constituted soon.

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