The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday declared the 75 per cent domicile reservation for locals in Haryana in private sector jobs as “unconstitutional”. A division bench of the court held that the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020, is violative of Part-III of the Constitution.
The Act, passed in 2021, mandated 75 per cent vacancies in private sector jobs with salaries below Rs 30,000 to be reserved for candidates who are state domiciles.
Justices GS Sandhawalia and Harpreet Kaur Jeewan held that the law is violative of Part-III of the Constitution. The court scrapped the law while hearing a batch of petitions challenging 75 per cent reservation to the locals in private sector jobs.
The court deliberated on four crucial issues while hearing the batch of petitions: maintainability of writ petitions, legislative competence of the state to pass the law, implementation of reservation policy in the private sector, and whether the law amounted to a reasonable restriction.
All the four issues were decided in favour of the petitioners.
The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020
The Haryana government had passed the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020, which focused on giving preference to local candidates in low-wage jobs. The legislation, passed in March 2021, was notified by the state labour department on November 6, 2021.
The law aimed to address challenges posed by a large number of migrants competing for low-wage jobs, impacting local infrastructure. It suggested that prioritising local candidates in these roles was socially, economically and environmentally desirable for the larger interests of the state residents.
However, the Faridabad Industries Association challenged the law, arguing that it interfered with private employers’ fundamental rights under Article 19. They contended that the restrictions imposed by the law were arbitrary and excessive.