Supreme Court Issues Notice on Haryana Government’s Challenge Against High Court’s Ruling Invalidating 75% Domicile Quota

Supreme Court Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: February 5, 2024 at 14:15 IST

In a significant development, the Supreme Court issued a notice on Monday (February 5) in response to the State of Haryana’s plea contesting the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s verdict deeming the 75% domicile reservation for local residents in the private sector, earning a monthly salary below Rs 30,000, as unconstitutional.

A bench comprising Justice PS Narasimha and Aravind Kumar has called for responses from industry associations in Haryana, prompted by the state government’s special leave petition expressing concerns about the potential consequences of the high court’s decision. Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta, argued during the hearing that the judgment lacked a coherent rationale.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, in its judgment on November 17, invalidated the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020, which introduced a 75% reservation for Haryana domiciles in private sector jobs with a monthly salary below Rs 30,000.

Justices GS Sandhawalia and Harpreet Kaur Jeewan, in a division bench, unequivocally declared the law unconstitutional, citing violations of fundamental rights.

The Court’s decision was based on various grounds, including the discriminatory nature of the reservation, infringement of the right to equality under Article 14, violation of freedom guaranteed by Article 19, and imposition of unreasonable restrictions.

The legislation, presented in the state assembly in 2020, aimed to address concerns about an influx of migrants competing for low-wage jobs, impacting local infrastructure, housing, and causing environmental and health issues. However, the high court found fault with the law, stating that it established a discriminatory policy treating non-residents as secondary citizens and violating constitutional morality.

While deeming the law unconstitutional, the division bench remarked, “…Freedom given under Article 19 of the Constitution of India could not be taken away, and the impugned provisions are falling foul and are liable to be declared unconstitutional as a wall could not be built around by the State, and the spirit and soul of the oneness of the Constitution of India could not be curtailed by the parochial limited vision of the State.”

This is not the first instance of the Supreme Court considering Haryana’s domicile policy for locals in the private sector.

In February 2022, the Punjab and Haryana High Court temporarily stayed the state government’s law providing for a 75% domicile reservation.

Later in the same month, the Supreme Court set aside the interim order, noting that the high court had not recorded any reasons for issuing the temporary stay. A bench led by retired Justice L Nageswara Rao also prohibited coercive steps against employers under the act during the pendency of the challenge.

Case Details: State of Haryana v. Faridabad Industries Association | Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 1627 of 2024

Related Post