The Bold Voice of J&K

Reservation enshrined in COI have more helped the politicians & less to the needy kept in focus

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DAYA SAGAR

India republic is over seven decades old and what have ‘our’ elected representatives achieved for the ‘Indian’ who was standing in last row in August 1947 worth writing off caste/ sect ravines is surely the must question. It has been after the Special Session of Parliament of India (18th to 22nd September 2023) that the subject of reservations in ‘legislature’ , reservation in government services and reservations in professional education institutions have been pushed into discussions and debates that no where test with the guiding principles that might have been before the Constituent Assembly of India which could well be sensed from Articles like Art-334 where in it was laid down that Reservation of seats / special representation in legislature to cease after ten years and instead demands for also including OBC along with SC & ST for reservations in Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies are being made by almost all the political parties outside NDA even after 7 decades. Demands are being raised at high tones for all India caste census and reservations in proportion to the population.
No doubt before this some people had already started asking (i) why at all the provision for reservation of seats in the Union legislature ( Art-330 ) and State Legislatures (Art-332) was made in Constitution of India for “socially and educationally” backward classes { so far classified and commonly under stood as Schedule Caste (SC ) Art-341 & Scheduled Tribe (ST) Art-342} and ( ii) why was the ‘indirect provision’ made for reservations in government services under Art-335 providing that the claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.
The reasons and pious intentions of the ‘elders’ defending such like provisions do reflect to great extent from the directions given in directive principles ( Art-46) where it has been said that The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. But why the reservations in legislature are still continuing after 7 decades when it was also laid down in constitution ( Art-334) that Reservation of seats and special representation to cease after ten years cannot be replied truthfully unless the ‘elected representatives ‘ un conditionally accept that they have miserably failed to reasonably empower the socially & educationally backward members of Indian society. To be brief, unless we provide adequate education cover atleast upto secondary school level and adequate health cover to those for whom we have been keeping reservations majority of them will not be able take the benefit for higher education as well as superior service positions in government because like as in the past those economically rich from within as well as from GC would be over riding the general masses with special coaching over and above better formal education.
Reservations in services and educational institutions are even crossing 50% mark and more classes for reservations have been included in the name of Other Backward Classes ( along with SC & ST) for reservation, although only in services &educational institutions but now the political parties are in race for pleading OBC reservations in Parliament / Legislature as well. Many more ‘sections’ are still agitating for reservations , which may make some to infer that after independence the socio economic conditions of more of Indian people have ‘deteriorated’ / even class divisions have increased instead of diminishing after 1950.Not only that political parties are not focussing on eradication of backwardness but some of them are working on classifying even OBC as dominant OBC and back seated OBC. Reservations are also being seen by some politicians in the name regional tags as well as socio professional classification like Marathas or Jats or Yadavs or Gurjar. Hardly any politician is seen working for medicating the society of divisive ‘ideologies’. Under The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019 effective 12 Jan 2019 reservations in addition to the existing reservation and subject to a maximum of ten per cent in Government services & Educational institutions for economically weaker sections out of classes other than unreserved classes mentioned in clause 4 & 5 of Art-15 and other than mentioned in clause (4) of Art-16 , have also been provisioned by amending Article-15 , Article-16, Article-19 and Art-29 of COI, and a 5- Judge Constitutional Bench in its verdict ( 3-2) has upheld the 103rd Constitution Amendment for its validity and not being a violation of the basic structure of the Constitution of India. Validity has been held by ‘numbers’. That means more weaker sections / people have emerged after 1947 instead of improving the status of “depressed classes” that were already there in 1947.Those directly / indirectly connected with political streams in relation to participation in governance of the democratic republic of India who had been suggesting for taking a review of the delivery of benefits by the provisions constitutionally kept for reservations for depressed classes so that corrections could be applied for not achieving targets in a decade as was anticipated in 1949 have now started saying that the reservation provisions have to be continued till targets are achieved .
Now religious minorities ( all India level ) like Muslims are asking reservations for Muslims and Christians too are demanding for them inspite of ‘Their’ leaders well knowing that though Schedule Tribe ( ST) reservations in constitution are caste & religion neutral and SC reservations are based on “discriminated” socially & educationally backward ‘castes ‘hence in case they too have caste based discriminations amongst them let them openly declare that they too have caste system and social discriminations amongst them like as alleged in ‘Hinduism / Hindu’ ( Art-17 of the constitution was drafted more , rather it will not be wrong to say , pinning “allegations” on those who were practicing Hinduism). In case others like those practicing Sikh religion ( 1956) / Buddhist religion (1990) also admit existence of socially discriminated ‘castes’ among them then some from amongst them (Muslims / Christians) too can be got included in SC by further amending Constitution ( SC ) order of 1950 as was also done in 1956/1990 without any sustainable objection from any side and quantum of reservation for SC can so simply go beyond 15 % .
The position on ground is that those who are really ‘depressed’ economically, educationally, socially and ‘resource’s wise weak are still depressed.
The political parties have found continuity of such demands worth yielding for them, if no so , then why and do not they talk of reviewing our system as regards the success of ‘reservation’ provisions over last 7 decades when the Elders had kept the reservation in legislature for 10 years only, why the political governments that followed have not been able to shed that even in 70 years ? After doing that the needed steps can be taken for enabling the benefits to at least now reach only those whom the elders had kept in focus in 1950.
Hence in the greater interest of the people of India all those who are truthfully concerned for the cause of “their” people both from reserved and unreserved categories must hold patience and take feel of the provisions made in the original constitution & amendments made later carefully and work for a solution where the Indian people move out of conflicts and time of the ‘nation’ is more utilised for common work instead of caste/ region/ religion focused controversies and unproductive controversies like debates on Reservations & No Reservations.
Let WE work with open mind , do not debate but discuss the demands and objections for & against reservations so as to address the genuineness of the issues so that now some meaningful ‘quantum’ of good happens to the beneficiaries who were kept in focus by the framers of Constitution of India while drafting articles like Art-330, Art-332, Art-341, Art-342, Art-4, Art-334 , Art-335 and like.

(The author is Sr Journalist, social activist and analyst J&K affairs [email protected]).

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