MP Government’s Decision on Government Jobs – Expected to Generate Debate on Fundamental Rights

Some states have been reserving government jobs and giving preference to locals. If there are not enacted laws then there are other criteria from language tests to proof of having resided/ studied in the state for a certain period of time which amounts to discrimination on basis of ‘place of birth’. The Constitution of India guarantees freedom of movement and consequently employment within India through several provisions. Article 19 ensures that citizens can “move freely throughout the territory of India”. Article 16 (2) guarantees no birthplace-based discrimination in public employment. Article 14 provides for equality before law irrespective of place of birth.

THE MADHYA Pradesh government’s decision to give government jobs only to “children” of the state seems to be violative of the fundamental right to equality. The courts have never extended such reservation to public employment, as it violates constitutional guarantees made to citizens against discrimination.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “Government employment in the state would only be open for people from the state. We are putting in place the necessary legal framework for it. The resources of Madhya Pradesh will only be for the residents of the state”. Such a reservation seems to give rise to regional disparities.