The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, November 16
Former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today asked his successor Charanjit Singh Channi to strongly defend the “reservation within the reservation” for the Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs of Punjab, for the direct recruitment in various government jobs. The former Chief Minister 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 reservation pyramid and mostly remain left out from the benefit due to their extreme educational and economic backwardness. Giving brief background of the issue, the former Chief Minister disclosed that it was during the Chief Ministership of Giani Zail Singh in 1975, that Punjab government through a circular had reserved fifty percent jobs within the reserved quota for the Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs, since it was seen that they were not able to avail the benefit of the reservations for the Scheduled Castes as compared to other reserved castes getting the reservation benefit. Capt Amarinder said, the said circular was struck down by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in July 25, 2006. He recalled, like the Abrogation of Water Sharing Agreements Act after Supreme Court had ruled against Punjab on the SYL issue, 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. The said act was notified on October 5, 2006. However, Section 4(5) of the Act, which provided fifty percent 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 Chief Minister said, due to the SC stay, the Valmikis and Mazhabi Sikhs are entitled to fifty percent 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. Capt Amarinder 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.