Make reservations statutory: Constitution review panel

With a view to ensuring justice in reservation, the Constitution Review Commission has suggested that reservation for members of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Castes should arise from a statute.

The Justice M N Venkatachaliah Commission, which submitted its report to the government on Sunday, has said the statute should cover all aspects of reservation, including setting up of tribunals to adjudicate cases and disputes pertaining to reservation in posts and vacancies in government, public sector, banks and other financial institutions.

These tribunals should have the status of high courts and have their main bench at Delhi and other benches in the states, the report said, adding that the statute should have a penal provision, including imprisonment for those convicted of wilfully or negligently failing to implement reservation.

The report said that it should be stipulated in the Memoranda of Understandings of privatisation or divestment of public sector undertakings that the policy of reservation in favour of SCs, STs and BCs shall be continued even after privatisation or divestment in the same form as it exists in the government and this should also be incorporated in the respective statutes of reservation.

The report suggested that as a measure of social integration, there should be a half per cent reservation for children of parents one of whom is SC/ST and the other is non-SC/ST and this reservation should be termed as reservation for the 'casteless'.

It recommended that Citizens' Charters be prepared by every service providing department and agency and it should include specifically the entitlements of citizens belonging to SCs, STs and other deprived classes.

It said a way could and should be found to bring a reasonable number of SCs, STs and BCs on the benches of the Supreme Court and high courts.

The report also said that there should be reservation for SCs, STs and BCs ( including BC minorities and More and Most Backward Castes), with a due proportion of women from each of these categories, in the matter of allotment of shops under the public distribution system and the other allotments like petrol stations and gas agencies.

It said that massive programmes of employment should be undertaken and expanded to cover all such people and provide them employment at statutory minimum wage fixed for agricultural labourers at least for 80 days in a year over and above the unsteady employment they normally have.

Inclusion of Right to Work as a fundamental right has been recommended in the report to provide the necessary constitutional base and support for this programme.

Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainsim not same as Hinduism

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, April 3: In a recognition of their separate identity, the Constitution Review Commission has recommended that Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism should be treated as religions distinct from Hinduism saying a constitutional provision grouping them together should be omitted.

The existing explanation II of Article 25 of the Constitution (Freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practice and Propagation of Religion) says reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly.

"Explanation II to Article 25 should be omitted," according to Justice M N Venkatachalian Commission, which submitted its report to the government on Sunday.

The Commission has also suggested rewording of the Sub-clause A which said nothing in Article 25 shall affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the state from making any law ..."Providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus".

The Commission suggested Sub-clause (B) of Clause (2)of Article 25 should be reworded to read ..."Providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu, Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of these religions".

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Published on:April 01, 2002
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