Draft law on refugee rights
(GS-II: Government policies and issues arising out of their implementation)
The NHRC recently held a discussion on “protection of the basic human rights of refugees and asylum seekers in India”.
During the meet, the participants expressed concern over the issue of India not having a specific law for refugees and asylum-seekers.
It was also suggested that model laws on asylum and refugees that were drafted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) decades ago but not implemented by the government could be revised by an expert committee.
Need for a law in this regard:
The refugees and asylum seekers were entitled to the rights in Articles 14, 20 and 21 of the Constitution. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the state to protect these rights.
There was a lack of clarity for law enforcement agencies as well.
If such laws were enacted, it would give legal sanctity and uniformity, ensuring the protection of human rights.
Key suggestions made:
Update the two old NHRC documents regarding the domestic asylum laws and model law for refugees.
Constitute a panel/committee of scholars and domain experts to update these draft laws.
About the Refugee Convention 1951:
It is a United Nations multilateral treaty that defines who is a refugee, and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum.
The Convention grants certain rights to people fleeing persecution because of race, religion, nationality, affiliation to a particular social group, or political opinion.
The Convention also sets out which people do not qualify as refugees, such as war criminals. The Convention also provides for some visa-free travel for holders of travel documents issued under the convention.
The Convention builds on Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the right of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries. A refugee may enjoy rights and benefits in a state in addition to those provided for in the Convention
The 1967 Protocol included refugees from all countries as opposed to the 1951 Convention that only included refugees from Europe.
(GS-II: Important international institutions and groupings)
The Union Cabinet has set in motion the process to build a Secretariat that will look after the affairs of organising the G20 summit in 2023.
India will steer the international body as its President from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023, which will lead to the G20 summit to be hosted here.
Proposed G20 Secretariat:
G20 Secretariat is being established to handle work relating to substantive/knowledge/content, technical, media, security and logistical aspects of India’s G20 Presidency.
It will be manned by officers and staff from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and other relevant line Ministries/Departments and domain knowledge experts.
The Secretariat will be functional till February 2024.
What is the G20?
The G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies.
Its members account for 85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population.
The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”.
After the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, it was acknowledged that the participation of major emerging market countries is needed on discussions on the international financial system, and G7 finance ministers agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in 1999.
The group has no permanent staff of its own, so every year in December, a G20 country from a rotating region takes on the presidency.
That country is then responsible for organising the next summit, as well as smaller meetings for the coming year.
They can also choose to invite non-member countries along as guests.
The first G20 meeting took place in Berlin in 1999, after a financial crisis in East Asia affected many countries around the world.
Full membership of the G20:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
Its relevance in changing times:
As globalization progresses and various issues become more intricately intertwined, the recent G20 summits have focused not only on macroeconomy and trade, but also on a wide range of global issues which have an immense impact on the global economy, such as development, climate change and energy, health, counter-terrorism, as well as migration and refugees.
The G20 has sought to realize an inclusive and sustainable world through its contributions towards resolving these global issues.
Haryana private sector quota law
(GS-II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
The Supreme Court has set aside the Punjab and Haryana High Court order staying a controversial State law which provides 75% reservation for local youths in private sector jobs earning less than ₹30,000 a month.
The story so far:
The Haryana government has ordered that the law (the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill) providing for 75% reservation for locals in private sector jobs will come into force from January 15, 2022.
However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the law.
Why did the Supreme Court lift the stay?
The Bench observed that every law passed by legislature was presumed to be legal.
An order of stay of their implementation by a court of law should be reasoned.
The High Court had not given sufficient reasons for stopping the Haryana law in its tracks on February 3.
Why was the law challenged?
The petitioners contended that Haryana wanted to create reservation in private sector by introducing a policy of “sons of the soil”, which was an infringement of the constitutional rights of employers.
It was also argued that private sector jobs were purely based on skills and analytical bent of mind, and employees had a fundamental right to work in any part of India.
Forcing the employers to employ local candidates in private sector vide this bill impugned Act is the violation of the federal structure framed by the Constitution of India, whereby the government cannot act contrary to public interest and cannot benefit one class.
Highlights of the law:
The law provides for 75% reservation in private sector jobs to those having a resident certificate (domicile).
The law will be applicable for a period of 10 years.
Jobs with a gross monthly salary of not more than ₹30,000 will be up for hiring from among local candidates.
Rationale behind the law:
To create a harmonious environment for industry as well as the youth along with creating the right balance between the progress of industries and the economy.
Concerns over the law:
It could lead to multinational firms moving out of the state.
Reservation affects productivity and industry competitiveness.
What are the legal issues in such laws?
The question of domicile reservation in jobs: While domicile quotas in education are fairly common, courts have been reluctant in expanding this to public employment. It raises questions relating to the fundamental right to equality of citizens.
The issue of forcing the private sector to comply with reservations in employment. For mandating reservation in public employment, the state draws its power from Article 16(4) of the Constitution. But, the Constitution has no manifest provision for private employment from which the state draws the power to make laws mandating reservation.
It may not be able to withstand judicial scrutiny on the touchstone of Article 19(1)(g).