Private Sector Reservations for Local Candidates in Haryana
State of Haryana v Faridabad Industries Association
The Supreme Court will decide whether to uphold a Haryana law providing 75% reservations in the private sector for local candidates.
Petitioner: State of Haryana
Lawyers: Tushar Mehta, B.K. Satija, Rajat Nair, Jagbir Malik, Madhav Sinhal,Shekhar Raj Sharma
Respondent : Faridabad Industries Association
Lawyers: Mukul Rohatgi, Shyam Divan, Chetan Mittal, Malak Manish Bhatt, Tushar Sharma, Neeha Nagpal, Himanshu Gupta, Rajat Bector, Udbhav Nanda, Dushyant Daye, Akshay Bhan, Jeetender Gupta, Neha Sangwan, Vishal Sharma, Mahesh Kumar
Does the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020 violate the Right to Equality?
Does the Haryana Act violate the Right Against Discrimination in Employment?
Does the Act violate the principle of single, unified citizenship across states?
The State of Haryana filed an appeal against an Interim Order of the Punjab & Haryana High Court that stayed the operation of a law providing domicile-based reservations of 75% in the private sector.
The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020, came into effect on January 15th, 2022. This law provided 75% reservations in private employment for candidates domiciled in Haryana. The maximum salary for those jobs for which the Act applied would be notified from time to time at the Haryana Udhyam Memorandum Portal. Under the Act, an ‘Authorized Officer’ would have the power to inspect employers, after giving notice of three days, to check non-compliance with the Act, the submission of false information, and ‘suspicious records’ about the appointment of non-locals.
The Faridabad Industries Association (FIA), a consortium of private employers, as well as other employers in the private sector challenged this law at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, claiming that the Act violated Articles 14, 15 and 19 of the Constitution of India, 1950. The Haryana Industries Association and other private employers asked the High Court to issue an Order staying the implementation of the Act.
At the High Court, the FIA argued that the Act was vague, arbitrary and unreasonable. They claimed that the Authorized Officers appointed under the Act were given over-broad powers.
FIA argued that the domicile criterion violates Article 16(2) of the Constitution. They pointed to Article 16(2), which states that citizens may not be discriminated against or deemed ineligible for employment on the basis of ‘residence’.
They claimed that the Act failed to account for commercial interests. Lastly, FIA argued that the Act contravened the idea of a single, common citizenship for persons from all states. This militated against India’s federal structure, violating the ‘Basic Structure’ of the Indian Constitution.
The Punjab & Haryana High Court stayed the Act, stating that they would shortly consider the core issue of whether a state can restrict employment, including in the private sector, on the basis of domicile.