New Delhi, Dec 10: Lok Sabha on Tuesday took up for discussion the Constitution Amendment Bill that seeks to extend by ten years the reservation given to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures.
Piloting the Bill, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government is committed to catering to the interests of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and hence the quota mechanism would be extended for next ten years.
Members belonging to Congress and Trinamool Congress clashed with the Law Minister on his statement that there are only 296 Anglo Indian numbers across the country according to 2011 Census.
"How can the government deny the right to the microscopic minority community....," Congress member Hibi Eden said while initiating a debate on the Bill.
He said in his own constituency there are around 20,000 people from the community.
"What is the basis of the figure of 296 people.....," he said. Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy also got himself engaged in argument with the Minister on the subject. Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government has not brought any proposal as of now to ensure nomination of Anglo Indian to Parliament and state legislatures.
Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury pointed out that the statement of objective on the Bill states that "....the representation of the Anglo-Indian community in the House of the People and in the Legislative Assemblies of the states by nomination shall cease to have effect on the expiration of a period of seventy years from the commencement of the Constitution".
Congress member Mr Eden said he has already given a breach of privilege motion on the matter against Law Minister but Speaker Om Birla said the matter of privilege should not be discussed while talking about the Bill.
But Mr Eden said, "I do support the Bill that will extend reservation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled in Lok Sabha and state assemblies for next ten years".
Law Minister Mr Prasad said the matter of nomination of Anglo Indians to legislatures did exist but the government has not brought for the consideration on the matter now.
"Isko hum aaj leke nahi aye haen...hum bichar kar rahen haen (We have not brought the matter related to Anglo Indian in this Bill, this matter is, however, under the consideration of the government)," he said. "I have the information from Registrar General of India," he insisted.Heena Gavit of BJP supported the Bill. (UNI)