Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Poor or Backward? (that is the question)

Option one: Reservations for everybody (already many political parties have floated the concept of reservations for economically lagging forward castes) as per political calculations (which are by necessity big tent- you cant win on the back of any one community, while simultaneously polarizing others) and held to strict scrutiny by the Courts.

Option two: Reservations for low income (low wealth). This way only poor people benefit from reservations. It will be difficult to argue that poor people of all classes are not equally deserving. After all, this is a principle which is already accepted in Option One.

The difference between the two is not expected to be significant, except the caste factor will be blunted in the second case. It may be also a clear cut way of introducing reservations for Muslims. 

Instead what we have is a bloody mess involving various communities fighting amongst themselves to prove how backward and how deserving they are. This only sharpens the caste factor and amplifies grievance and puts people in various (permanent) boxes. For greedy, grubby politicians- what is not to like?
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to stay Centre's poll-eve notification to include the Jat community in the OBC list for providing the benefits of reservation, saying there are prima facie material for taking the decision.

Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for OBC Reservation Raksha Samiti — an organisation of members of communities which are included in the central list of Backward Classes, alleged that the March 4 notification was issued a day before the model code of conduct (MCC) came into force and it was done by the party in power to garner votes.

However, the bench said it cannot come in the way of the government taking a decision a day before the MCC came into force. "Government is a government. We can't say, you can't do. Till one day before (the MCC), they can take a decision," the bench said.

Venugopal submitted the party in power took the decision for private gain.

On April 1, the apex court had asked the Centre why it allegedly ignored the advice of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) to keep the Jat community away from reservation benefits.

The court had also said that "the matter is serious" and had directed the ministry of social justice and empowerment to place before it all the material, records and files pertaining to the decision, to see "whether there was application of mind or not" while issuing the March 4 notification.

The notification included Jat community in OBC list in Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan (two districts of Bharatpur and Dholpur), Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

OBC Reservation Raksha Samiti in its plea had contended that as a result of the notification, Jats will be like a "creamy layer" in the OBC list and will take away the seats and posts in schools, colleges and government jobs from other community.

The petitioners, referring to several empirical studies and survey, have contended that Jat community being a socially forward caste will consume substantive portion of the quota of OBC reservation which will deprive the deserving people of other backward classes of the benefit of reservation.

They submitted that people of Jat community have performed much better than those of other castes and the number of those who have been selected in the prestigious civil services exam of UPSC is much higher than the number proportionate to their population.
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regards