- Government denied it had anything to do with the top court order
- Congress said BJP and RSS are fundamentally against reservations
- Opposition parties called for a review of the Supreme Court order
Here are top 10 points from the Lok Sabha:
Social Welfare Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said the central government had no role in the court decision and neither was its view sought. "We are studying the subject and we will take an appropriate decision," he said, asserting that the court order was linked to the decision of a Congress government in Uttarakhand in 2012 not to have reservations in government job promotions.
Opposition parties called for a review of the Supreme Court order, which said states cannot be compelled to provide quotas for promotions without data showing imbalance in representation of certain communities in public service.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, speaking over noisy protests in the Lok Sabha, lashed out at the Congress for "politicising" the subject, reminding the party that it was in power in 2012 in Uttarakhand when the state decided to fill government posts without quotas to Scheduled Casts and Scheduled Tribes.
The government-opposition crossfire erupted after the Congress and the Left called for discussions in both houses on the Supreme Court order. When a member remarked that the Constitution was under threat, Speaker Om Birla said the Constitution was "not under threat but the dignity of the House was".
The Congress said the Supreme Court order was a blow to the "essence of reservation" in the Constitution and that the rights of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes had been constantly under threat during the BJP rule.
"They (the RSS and BJP) wake up every morning and this (reservation) irritates them, except it is in our Constitution, and these rights are guaranteed by our Constitution. You have seen that they are arguing (in court) that it (reservation) is not a fundamental right. So it is their DNA to try and erase it. We will not allow reservation to be done away with, no matter how much Modi Ji or Mohan Bhagwat dream of it," Congress leader Rahul Gandhi told reporters in a sharp offensive.
One of the BJP's allies also nudged it to take some action. "Lok Jan Shakti Party does not agree with the Supreme Court's decision that reservations for jobs, promotions, is not a fundamental right. We urge the Centre to intervene in this matter," said the party's Chirag Paswan in Lok Sabha.
This morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met senior ministers in his Parliament House office. Such meetings are routine during sessions, but this morning's drew attention in the backdrop of the Supreme Court order.
On Friday, a two-judge Supreme Court bench responded to an Uttarakhand High Court order last year, which had overturned a 2012 state government decision stopping reservations in promotions to SC/ST employees. Uttarakhand had a Congress government at the time.
"There is no doubt the state is not bound to make reservations. There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions. No mandamus can be issued directing states to provide reservations," the top court said. The Supreme Court said the state government had absolute discretion to decide and is not under any obligation to do so.