TODAY -

10 % reservation & ST demand ?

Free Thinker *



At the midnight hour of 9th January (2019), one editor of a 'daily' called me, asking what is this 10 % reservation for poor UP? I instantly corrected him that it is not UP, it is UC (poor Upper Caste).

Further he asked, what is the actual upper caste (general category) population of Manipur? Then I said, almost nil.

Then he rebutted me saying this legislation is not relevant for us, perhaps justifying his first query. I responded telling him, it is relevant because it marks the beginning of rationalization of reservation policy in this country.

Reservation on economic criteria is the most rational thing to do at present (suppression and exploitation in the last many many years cannot be the yardstick anymore) WHO IS SUFFERING NOW & WHO IS WEAK NOW? MUST BE THE SOLE CRITERIA.

That is why the Constitution Amendment Bill to provide ten percent reservation to the weaker section of the general category people was supported by almost all the MPs in Parliament except a few like the Tamil MPs; in Tamil Nadu reservation has already crossed the 50% mark and reached 69%.

Unfortunately, there is hardly anyone to enjoy this 10% reservation in my tiny State of Manipur. All the natives of Manipur are either ST or SC or OBC (including the creamy part); only a microscopic minority who come from other parts belong to General Category.

However, this Constitutional amendment to provide 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of general category people has triggered a national debate outside Parliament.

In a democracy it is always good to have debates, deliberations and discourses. Whether it is outside Parliament or inside Parliament, whether it is inside Assembly or out side Assembly all kinds of debates and discussions must be encouraged.

That is one of the fundamental components of a vibrant democracy. When the authority or the State try to gag or restrain freedom of thoughts and speeches there will be no taste of a liberal democracy.

It may not be very relevant to the issue of reservation but I am very curious to tell a story of the most liberal democracy of the world , the United States of America ;
one late evening a drunk came in front of the White House and started yelling nonsense against the President, his government ;
the drunk even called the first lady all names of the worst kind;
he uttered all kinds of filthy languages, all kinds of unparliamentary expressions and all kinds of derogatory words ;
within a few minutes only two cops came out and took him away and hired a cab for him to drop him at his residence.

Though the incident was widely reported in the media, no defemination case, no sedition charge or no arrest took place. That is the luxury of a very free society, that is the sign of a mature democracy. I really envy.

This 10% reservation law may be having some infirmities like
1) It has breached the 50% cap set by the Federal Court in Indira Sawhney case.
2) It has violated the basic structure of the constitution as it infringes upon the Fundamental Rights .
3) It goes against the spirit of the Constitution as it contemplates positive discrimination on the basis of economic weakness not social deprivations.
4) It lacks imperial data to enact such a law which would have far reaching consequences in future (laws cannot be enacted based on perceptions).

Forget about these infirmities. Just look at the intent of the law. It has been done in wider national perspective. Judges of the Federal Court are all erudites they know that these loopholes can be mended in the broader national interest of rationalizing reservation policy. This is just the beginning. Only an iconoclast can do such things.

Raviji, it is not a sixer at the end of a slog over, but it is a century at the end of an innings. Most of the judges in the Federal Court must be feeling the pain of insensible and incoherent reservation policy in government jobs and educational institutions.

It is high time to do an overhauling of the entire reservation policy (except for the Constitutionally mandated reservation for parliamentary and assembly seats). Reservation as such needs to be looked into seriously keeping a roving eye on the 'deserving' and the 'beneficiaries'.

Mohan Bhagwatji RSS chief once said, it is time to review the reservation policy; for this, he was gagged by his own Parivar members perhaps because of pollical exigencies. But I agree with him, he is right, it is high time to have a relook at the edifice of our reservation. Rationalization is the only answer, Courts will understand.

Otherwise everyone will be asking for reservation for the assured crumbs and freebies. There will be no end to such demands. Why should one blame the Jats, Patels, Marathas or Meities for demanding their easy shares?

A few days back, six OBC communities of Assam including Tai Ahoms (once a ruling class) are included in the ST list then why should the poor Meiteis remain far behind?


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on January 22, 2019.



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