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HC quashes Haryana law on 75% quota in Private jobs to residents

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    27th Nov, 2023

Context:

Punjab and Haryana HC quashed a law that provided 75 per cent reservation in private jobs to residents of the state.

Reasons Given by HC

  • Underlining that a government cannot discriminate against individuals merely because they do not belong to a particular state.
  • The HC declared the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020 unconstitutional, striking down the provision that mandated 75% reservation in private jobs for Haryana residents.
  • Constitutional Infringement:
    • The High Court emphasized that the law violated Part III of the Constitution, which safeguards fundamental rights.
    • The provision was deemed ultra vires and ineffective from its inception.
  • Discrimination Concerns:
    • The bench underscored that a government cannot discriminate based on an individual's state of origin.
    • Private employers were deemed free to recruit from the open market, especially for roles paying less than Rs 30,000 per month.
  • State Intervention Limits:
    • The court argued that the State cannot dictate private employers' hiring practices contrary to constitutional principles.
    • It highlighted the impracticality of restricting a builder from employing skilled workers based on their regional expertise.
  • Intrusion into Fundamental Rights:
    • Petitions challenging the law argued that it infringed on the fundamental rights of private employers under Article 19 of the Constitution.
    • The law was criticized for creating division among citizens based on their domicile.
  • Concept of Common Citizenship:
    • The court noted that the law created an undesirable division among citizens, contrary to the constitutional concept of common citizenship.
    • It rejected the argument that unemployment among local youth justified such classification.

Government's Defense:

  • The Haryana government contended that the law did not discriminate in central or state government employment or in organizations owned by them.
  • It was the aim of the government that the Haryana youth get jobs in newly formed industries. 
  • It asserted that while birthplace-based reservation might violate constitutional provisions, employment based on domicile adheres to Article 15(1) of the Constitution.
  • The government claimed that unemployed local youth constituted a distinct class, justifying their preferential treatment in private sector employment.

Analysis and Implications:

  • The court's ruling sets a precedent against regional discrimination in employment and reinforces the constitutional right of private entities to conduct their affairs without undue interference.
  • It highlights the importance of upholding the principles of common citizenship and individual rights over region-based preferences.
  • The decision could have broader implications for similar laws in other states and promotes a more egalitarian approach to employment practices.

Conclusion

The High Court's decision strikes down a law deemed violative of constitutional principles, reinforcing the foundational tenets of equality and non-discrimination. This ruling is expected to shape future legal discourse on the balance between regional considerations and individual rights in employment matters.

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