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Haryana jobs for locals quota: Supreme Court defers hearing to Monday

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The Supreme Court has adjourned hearing on a petition filed by the state of Haryana against the Punjab and Haryana High Court order, which had stayed the operation of the law providing 75 per cent reservation in private sector jobs paying less than 30,000 a month, for those who have a domicile in the state.

A Division Bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai listed the matter for hearing on Monday. 

Justice Rao instructed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to check the status of other State Acts, such as Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, which similarly provide employment of 75 percent in private sector and the status of their challenge before the respective High Courts.

He further suggested that if all parties agreed, all these cases can be taken up together to decide the issue of constitutionality.

SG Mehta submitted that there is a presumption of constitutionality of a statutory provision. Even though “the writ court has ample jurisdiction to ultimately hold if a statutory provision is unconstitutional, yet interim stay should not be granted”.

He further clarified that the law is prospective and would not effect the existing employees and stated that “only a handful of people” are opposed to the Act.

Justice Rao: “Before we say anything on this matter, we are informed there are similar legislations made by the state of Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand and we read from a news item in today’s newspaper, those legislations have been challenged. So, now there are three High Courts, which are considering the legislation.”

The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020 provided for 75 per cent reservation in private sector to the candidates having domicile in Haryana.

The law covers private companies, societies, trusts and partnership firms and applies to jobs that offer a maximum gross monthly salary or wages of up to Rs 30,000. The law had mandated companies to hire from an online portal, where all eligible candidates could register. 

On February 3, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana had granted an interim stay on the provision providing 75 percent reservation in private sector jobs for domicile holders. The High Court, upon considering the argument of SG Tushar Mehta, had stated that the core issue was whether any state can ‘restrict employment’ (even in the Private Sector), on the basis of domicile.

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