‘Unconstitutional’: High Court Scraps Haryana’s 75% Job Reservation Law In Private Sector

New Delhi: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has struck down a controversial state law, terming it ‘unconstitutional’.

The Haryana law reserves 75% of private-sector jobs, paying up to Rs 30,000 per month, for the state’s residents with a resident or domicile certificate. The domicile requirement was brought down from 15 years to 5 years.

The BJP and Jananayak Janata Party (JJP) alliance government, headed by Manohar Lal Khattar, had introduced the law with an eye on consolidating votes of local communities, especially the Jats.

The high court verdict is a major setback for the government, with Assembly elections in Haryana less than a year away.

The state is likely to file an appeal against the judgment.

The Act, passed by Haryana Assembly in November 2020, got the Governor’s nod in March 2021.

The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill was introduced by the state government stating that the “influx of migrants competing for low-paid jobs places a significant impact on local infrastructure and housing, and leads to proliferation of slums.”

Giving preference to local candidates in low-paid jobs was “socially, economically and environmentally desirable and in the interests of general public”, the government had said.

Gurugram Industrial Association and other employer bodies had filed a petition against the controversial law, arguing that sons-of-the-soil concept behind the law was an infringement of the constitutional rights of employers. The petitioners also contended that the Act was against principles of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity enshrined in the Constitution.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the Act in February 2022. However, the Supreme Court set aside that order following an appeal by Haryana government and asked the high court to decide on the petitions.

A bench of Justices GS Sandhawalia and Harpreet Kaur Jeewan, who heard the petitions on Friday, found the Act unconstitutional and struck it down.

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