Uttarakhand : After a struggle spanning two decades, the long-held aspiration of Uttarakhand’s state agitators to secure a 10 percent horizontal reservation in direct recruitment posts is finally on the brink of realization. Once the bill, endorsed by the Cabinet, is passed in the Assembly and enacted into law, four major advantages will be conferred, with origins dating back to 2004.
- Restoration of Agitator Quota Jobs: Following the Nainital High Court’s cancellation of the government order granting horizontal reservation to agitators, approximately 1700 employees working in government departments under this arrangement in the state will receive substantial relief. State agitator Kranti Kukreti explains that after the court invalidated the government order, the state government issued a notification in 2018, resulting in the absence of existing regulations safeguarding the jobs of employees recruited under the agitator quota.
- Employment for Around 300 Candidates: Post the annulment of the horizontal reservation mandate, approximately 300 candidates who had been selected through the Public Service Commission and Subordinate Selection Commission under the agitating quota were unable to assume their designated roles due to the lack of regulations.
- Release of Pending Exam Results: Numerous candidates whose competitive exam results were withheld by institutions following the cancellation of the reservation mandate in 2004 are now poised to finally receive their results.
- Opening the Path for Job Reservations: The most significant boon will be for the identified state agitators and their dependents, who have tirelessly advocated for this transformation over the years.
The state currently acknowledges approximately 13,000 identified agitators. Following the enactment of this legislation, thousands of these state agitators or their dependents will become eligible for horizontal reservation.
Moreover, there are approximately 6,000 pending applications for recognition as identified state agitators across all 13 districts, with 300 applications originating from the state of Delhi. State agitators have been steadfastly advocating for their official recognition.
A Concise History of Agitator Reservation:
- The interim government of Nityanand Swami ordered direct jobs for dependents of martyrs of the state movement.
- On August 11, 2004, the ND Tiwari government mandated the direct inclusion of injured and incarcerated individuals into government service, alongside the provision of 10 percent horizontal reservations for identified state agitators.
- The Nishank government broadened the scope of horizontal reservation to encompass identified agitators and their dependents.
- On May 9, 2010, following a petition by Karunesh Joshi, the High Court revoked the government order offering direct jobs to injured and incarcerated agitators.
- Karunesh Joshi filed a review petition against the service rules introduced on May 20, 2010.
- On March 7, 2018, the court invalidated the horizontal reservation mandate and associated service rules.
- In 2015, the Harish government introduced the horizontal reservation bill, which remained pending in the Raj Bhavan for seven years.
- In response to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami’s request, the Governor returned the bill.
- The government has now introduced a new bill, which has received Cabinet approval.