Rajya Sabha proceedings disrupted for fourth day amid opposition protests over roster for reservation

Source: PTI | Published on 7th February 2019, 8:50 PM | National News |

NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha proceedings were Thursday disrupted for the fourth day in a row amid protests by opposition parties, including RJD, BSP, TMC, SP and Congress, over roster system for reservation in universities.

As soon as the House resumed proceedings at 2 PM, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked members to begin the discussion on motion of thanks on the President's address to Parliament.

In the meanwhile, opposition members were on their feet and sought a discussion on the issue of roster system under Rule 267.

The rule provides that all business of the House is suspended for taking up discussion on a particular issue.

SP member Javed Ali Khan demanded discussion on reservation issue under Rule 267 of the House while other opposition members raised slogans.

When the Chairman did not heed to their demand saying the discussion on Motion of Thanks would go on, opposition members--RJD, SP, BSP, TMC and Congress-- trooped into the well protesting over the introduction of roster system in educational institutions, which they claim limits the scope of reservation for jobs.

They kept on raising slogan like "Anti-Dalit Government will not function", "Scrap new roster system", "We will not tolerate attack on reservation system", "Anti-reservation government will not function anymore".

Naidu pointed out that the House is lagging behind and requested opposition members to let the House function.

"Please allow the House to function. The entire country is watching your functioning in the House. You don't want to discuss the President's address," he said.

He also assured members that the government has taken note of the issue raised by them as the minister has also replied on that.

As members refused to relent, Naidu adjourned the House for the day.

The roster system provides that a number of vacancies are considered department or wing wise in a college or university and not total number of posts available for recruitment in any institution.

This results in limited seats available for recruitment by each department or wing under reserved categories.

Earlier in the morning, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 PM amid protest by opposition parties mainly SP and BSP members over the issue of faculty reservation in Universities even after the government assured them that it will file a review petition in the Supreme Court.

Members of SP, BSP, RJD and CPI, who had given notices to discuss the issue, were not satisfied with the government's reply that it will file a review petition in the apex court.

Speaking on the issue in the morning session, the members demanded that a new bill be introduced to protect the interest of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and OBC.

While replying on the issue in the Upper House, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said, "We are fully committed towards reservation. We will ensure they are not affected."

The Minister said the government will soon file a review petition in the apex court on this issue and expressed confidence of getting a favourable judgment.

However, Opposition members were not satisfied with the minister's reply and were on their feet protesting, forcing Naidu to adjourn the House till 2 PM.

Javadekar had earlier said the government will file a review petition in the Supreme Court after its Special Leave Petition on faculty reservation mechanism for universities was rejected by the apex court.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had announced in March last year that an individual department should be considered as the base unit to calculate the number of teaching posts to be reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates following an order by the Allahabad High Court in April in 2017.

Earlier after laying of papers, Naidu said since only four days are left in the Budget session, the House should decide when to have a discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address.

He adjourned the House for 10 minutes till 11:20 PM to give time to both treasury and Opposition benches to decide on the issue.

When the House resumed, Naidu allowed members who had given notice on the issue of reservation to raise their concern.

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