TAG: GS 2: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
THE CONTEXT: Recently, the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed a law passed by the Haryana government in 2020 that provided 75 per cent reservation in private jobs to residents of the state.
- The Punjab and Haryana High Court’s ruling quashing the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020 has far-reaching implications and raises several significant points.
- Unconstitutionality and Violation of Fundamental Rights:
- The court ruled the Act as unconstitutional and violative of Part III of the Indian Constitution, which encompasses fundamental rights.
- This Act was seen as discriminatory against individuals who are not residents of a specific state and impinged upon their rights.
- State Intervention in Private Sector:
- The judgment highlighted the overreach of the state government into the private sector by attempting to mandate the hiring of local candidates.
- It was perceived as an intrusion into the freedom of private employers to recruit based on their requirements.
- Freedom to Conduct Business:
- The court emphasized Article 19 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to carry out business and trade.
- The Act was seen as an impediment to this freedom for private employers, impacting their ability to hire based on merit and suitability for the job.
ETHICAL AND PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS:
- Equality and Common Citizenship:
- The Act was criticized for creating divisions among people based on their state of origin, which contradicts the idea of common citizenship enshrined in the Constitution.
- It was argued that such laws create disparities among citizens and go against the principle of equality.
- Skill Diversity and Employment Needs:
- The court illustrated how skill diversity exists across regions, and mandating local hiring could hinder businesses from accessing a diverse skill set essential for their operations.
- It emphasized that a skilled workforce might be sourced from different parts of the country, and restricting hiring based on domicile is counterproductive.
- Challenges of Unemployment:
- While the Haryana government argued that the Act aimed to address local youth unemployment, the court observed that such measures cannot infringe upon the rights of others.
- It questioned the feasibility of such discriminatory practices in addressing unemployment concerns.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE AND FUTURE STEPS:
- Legal Recourse:
- The government expressed intentions to approach the Supreme Court for an appeal (Special Leave Petition – SLP) against the High Court’s decision.
- This signifies a potential continuation of the legal battle over the policy’s validity.
- Reviewing Options:
- The government spokesperson mentioned assessing the detailed court order before deciding on the next course of action.
- This indicates a need to reconsider strategies regarding employment policies in light of the court’s decision.
- The High Court’s decision to quash the Haryana law reflects a significant ruling on constitutional and fundamental rights issues.
- It underscores the importance of maintaining a balance between addressing local unemployment concerns and ensuring equality and freedom in employment opportunities.
- This ruling may influence future state policies concerning employment quotas and rights of private businesses in recruitment practices across India.