Tuesday, February 20, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Satwant’s unseating stayed
Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
A Division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Mr Justice S.P. Baroocha and Mr JusticeY.K. Sabharwal today stayed the operation of the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court setting aside the membership of Mrs Satwant Kaur Sandhu of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The high court had in its order of November 23 last year unseated her on the plea that she was a Ramdasia , caste for which there was no reservation. The reservation was meant for members of the Ramdasi caste, the high court had held.

The order of the apex court must have come as a relief to the ruling Shiromani Akai Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance for it has put up Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal as its candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat, polling for which is scheduled to be held on February 22. Mr Sukhbir Singh is facing Mr Manjit Singh Khaira, an Independent supported by certain rebel Akali legislators, in the straight contest.

Mrs Sandhu is also a member of the Council of Ministers and holds the portfolio of Minister for Printing and Stationery. The Punjab Government decided to contest the order of the high court and preferred a Special Leave Petition in the apex court where it was listed today.

The Division Bench ordered the stay of the impugned order of the high court, thus paving way for Mrs Sandhu to continue both as a legislator and Minister.

In fact, the Punjab Government had committed a blunder” while reproducing the Constitutional Scheduled Castes ( Order) as a manual to grant legal sanctity to provide reservation to the Scheduled Castes in the state.

Mr G.S. Bal, counsel for Mrs Sandhu, had told Tribune News Service that while reproducing the Scheduled Castes Order, the authorities concerned in the state government wittingly or unwittingly substituted the word “Ramdasi” by “Ramdasia”, adding the letter “a” to it on their own. 


Stipends doubled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 19
The Haryana Government today said it doubled the stipends paid to students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the backward classes.

An official spokesman said that the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, felt that their stipends and stationery grant had remained static since 1983 and 1989, respectively. 

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