The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday suspended a Haryana government law providing for 75% reservation for state residents in private sector jobs, reported Live Act.
A bench of Justices Ajay Tewari and Pankaj Jain passed the order on a petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Haryana State Local Candidates Employment Act 2020.
The law was signed into law in November and entered into force on January 15.
The reservation of private jobs was one of the key promises made in the 2019 assembly elections by the Jannayak Janta Party – the alliance partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Haryana.
The law states that those who are domiciled in Haryana can avail its benefits. To have domicile status, a person must have been born in the state or have lived there for at least 15 years.
Companies were given the option of hiring people from outside if they could not find suitable candidates in Haryana. However, they should inform the government of this decision.
The law covers jobs that pay up to Rs 30,000 as gross monthly salary and applies to businesses, corporations, trusts, limited liability partnerships, general partnerships located across the state.
In March, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said the reservation would be disastrous for industrial development and private investment.
Later in February this year, the Faridabad Industries Association appealed to the High Court, saying the law was unconstitutional as it was excessively vague, arbitrary and gave sweeping powers to appointing authorities.
He argued that the law violated Articles 14 (equality before the law), 15 (prohibition of discrimination based on religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth) and 19 (right to liberty , including to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India and to engage in any profession, trade or business) of the Constitution of India.
“The Act seeks to effectively provide for the reservation of private employment and represents an unprecedented intrusion by the government into the fundamental rights of private employers to carry on business and trade, as provided for in section 19 and the restrictions imposed on a such right are not reasonable but arbitrary, capricious, excessive and unwarranted,” said the plea from Faridabad Industries Association.
The plea also said that the law is contrary to the idea of common citizenship in India and does not respect the federal structure of the country.
On the other hand, the government of Haryana argued that the law only “classifies geographically”, which is allowed by the Constitution, reported the Hindustan time.
“This is to protect the right to life/livelihood of people domiciled in the state and to protect their health, living conditions and right to employment,” the state said.
The government argued that the law was enacted due to rising unemployment in Haryana.
“The industrialization and urbanization of the state has led to huge land acquisitions which have consequently reduced opportunities for growth and employment in the agricultural sector,” the government said.
Commenting on the High Court order, Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana, Dushyant Chautala said the state government will continue to fight for job opportunities for youths in the state.