[Assam] End the Quota System?

Dilip/Dil Deka dilipdeka at yahoo.com
Mon May 21 07:43:53 PDT 2007

Is this an attempt to end the (reservation) quota system that was based on caste? If the quota system is struck down, will it cause havoc among the beneficiaries of the reservation policies? 
  Did the quota system really help in empowering the BC and the OBC, or in due course of time under democracy it was going to happen anyway? Has it helped the masses or just a few of those who were socially handicapped before?
  Having been away from India for a long time, I do not have a good perception of the situation in today's India. My request is for someone in India to comment on the news item below so that we can all relate to the issue.
  Dilip Deka
  From the Sentinel
            EDITORIAL » »
    Last updated : MONDAY 21 MAY 2007          The Court’s Wisdom
We have said here times without number that it is the Judiciary that has rescued the people of this country from the whims and fancies of politicians. Had it not been for the Judiciary, our lawmakers, most of whom are also excellent lawbreakers, would have perhaps hijacked the nation and its people far beyond recoverable abyss. Whether the repeal of the notorious and discriminatory IM(DT) Act or the verdict that stayed the implementation of 27 per cent OBC quota in higher educational institutions — to name only a few in recent times — it is the court’s wisdom that has saved this nation of ours from being plundered for petty electoral gains. So now as the Supreme Court Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice PK Jain has referred the 27 per cent OBC quota case to a larger Bench on the grounds that the issue involved considerable importance of constitutional law having an impact on the entire nation and a larger Bench would have to examine whether the government had
 unbridled powers to perpetuate the reservation policies, the nation ought to pause for a while and ponder whether the political class has not already played havoc with the nation’s just course towards progress in the true sense of the term. The apex court’s message of Thursday is clear: that the lawmakers in the country just cannot make laws that address their narrow constituencies and aim to expand them, such as the casteist vote banks. 
Not only this. The court also said that the government could not adopt any ‘‘bullying attitude’’ that could impinge on the fundamental rights of citizens. It pointed out that the government’s caste-based reservation policy seemed to be violative of various provisions like Articles 14, 15, 21 and 21 that guarantee fundamental rights. More important — and here is the real rebuke — the Bench of Justice Pasayat and Justice Jain felt that if the government really wanted to adopt a policy as such — for all-inclusive growth and development — it should have rather focused on ensuring compulsory education for illiterates, regardless of the caste barrier. The Bench also wanted to know as to why minority educational institutions should be exempted from the purview of the 27 per cent OBC quota policy. These are questions which the government of the day must answer in candid terms and then apologize for having taken the people of the country for a ride so shamelessly. Where is
 compulsory education irrespective of the caste barrier? What stops the government from evolving a policy to that end? Just because such a policy will not fetch votes or consolidate vote banks or create new ones? Or is it that the leaders wielding power do not know what it means to drive the nation along the path of progress? As for freeing the minority institutions from the burden of 27 per cent quota, the equation is clear. After all, how can the government dilute an existing and infallible vote bank — of the so-called minorities — to accommodate other vote-bank interests when these interests can so easily be thrust into other non-‘minority’ domains? The court knows how to read the politician’s line. One hopes a larger Supreme Court Bench hearing the reservation issue would confirm more of this.

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