Meghalaya VPP legislator Adelbert Nongrum’s attempt to address State Reservation Policy rejected

March 24, 2023 by MT Bureau

Staff Reporter

Shillong, March 22: The Meghalaya Selection of Candidates for State Quota Seats to Higher Academic Courses Bill, 2023 introduced by the opposition Voice of the People Party (VPP) legislator from North Shillong Adelbert Nongrum was rejected through a voice vote in the Assembly today.

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"The No has it, the motion is not carried and leave to introduce the Bill is not granted. The Bill is therefore rejected by the House," Assembly Speaker Thomas A Sangma said after the Bill was put to vote.

Tabling the statement of object and reasons, Nongrum said, “The applicability of a 1972 Resolution for Reservation of vacancies in services or posts under the state government (otherwise misleadingly known as State Reservation Policy) for loosely implementing reservation in state quota seats to higher academic courses allotted to the government of Meghalaya has been a bone of contention for 50 years too long and facing disgruntlement from youth across the state who are becoming increasingly aware of quantifiable data in census demographics and the infringement of their legal rights by the absence of a State Policy or legislation to support academic reservation, the student community particularly those who have been deprived of state quota seats are growing restless in their demand and machinations for a clear cut policy and dependable legislation that brings fairness and justice to educational opportunities laid principle in the relationship between Articles 14 and 15 (4) of the Constitution of India. Hence, this Bill.”

Earlier while giving a brief explanation on the Bill, Nongrum said that the State Reservation Policy is fraught with defects.

“The OM relates to the Job Reservation alone, that is clear, and not to Academic Reservation. So if, let’s say another case comes before the High Court, challenging the validity of reservation in allotment of seats to medical, allied, and engineering courses etc by application of the State Reservation Policy, imagine the hardship it could bring to students of the state,” he said.

“Hence, with a view to pre-empting any fallout of the legal defects of academic reservation being currently practised by the state government, I implore all members of the House, cutting across all party lines, and across all constituencies, to kindly lend support to this Private Members’ Bill, which is most essential for security the academic future of the young people of the state. Please let us not fail in our responsibility and vision as legislators,” Nongrum added.

Stating this was not his first Private Members’ Bill, the VPP MLA said, “The first one around a year ago, on Agricultural Land Regulation, was defeated before I could even begin to explain in the House. The second time, was last Autumn Session, to repeal the Gaming Act, was also not supported, although, in this budget session, we see that the government has introduced a Bill on the same subject. So I am positive that the effort of Private Members’ Bill is never a lost cause.”

He further informed that he had also moved a resolution for review and revamp of the State Reservation Policy and it was debated at length, but the resolution did not win support.

“A month later, in a case before the High Court of Meghalaya, concerning the State Reservation Policy, the High Court passed an order for implementation of the Roster System. We all know what sudden confusion and apprehension the Roster System brought. And today we are still seeing the effects, besides quietly or loudly being unhappy with the Roster System,” he said.