A committee led by Justice K K Narendran and consisting of T M Savankutty and K V Rabindran Nair was entrusted in February 2000 by the then LDF government in Kerala to study and report about the representation of backward classes in State public services.
The Commission submitted the report in September 2001 with statistical data on the representation of various communities. The findings revealed that the reserved communities still hadn’t received the deserved positions in government services. The Ezhava community held posts substantially higher in number than their individual reservation quota unlike other backward classes that lagged behind in proportional representation. Of all the reserved communities, the Muslim community stood much behind other communities. Narendran Commission recommended steps including implementing special recruitment campaigns to remove the backlog and providing the backward classes of the society with equal rights. The outcries for implementing the suggestions gained momentum paving way for huge protests in the state. However, the successive UDF government, under the pretext of implementing the Narendran Commission report, formed a package that rejected the most important demand of the reserved classes: filling up the backlog. It’s true that there were certain measures present in the package that were undertaken for not losing the reserved seats. But the government under the guise of these arrangements was able to grant reservation in the educational sector for the backward communities of the upper class. That is, even while implementing a Commission report formed for resolving the issues of the backward classes, the government was ensuring its benefits to the upper class. In all the moves by the government related to reservation, this ridiculous incongruity could always be seen, irrespective of Left and Right Fronts. The only reason for that is the power right now, being in the hands of those who wanted to do away with reservation from the political discourses and the system at any cost.
Certain content in the Kerala State Commission for Forward Communities Bill 2015 presented in the state Assembly on Wednesday is an instance of this mindset. The Bill for the upper class presented by the government had an anti-constitutional content. ‘The reservation availed of by the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes, backward and minority communities are limiting the educational and employment opportunities of the youth of forward communities” said the statement of objects and reasons. The government readily removed the objectionable part from the Bill and approved the revised version after the Opposition objected to it. Even though the Bill was passed after removing the content, it clearly shows the temperament of those in power about the reservation system. The controversy related to the rank list of Sub Inspectors published by the PSC was another conspiracy stemming from this mindset. The government made several attempts to cancel the appointments in rank list including 170 reserved posts prepared by the PSC, filing special leave petition in the Supreme Court recently. The apex court bench comprising Justice AK Sikri and Justice R Banumathi annulling the petition on December 17 is a heavy blow to those conspiring against the backward communities. The fact that the state’s Home department made efforts to file the special leave petition also brings to light the mindset of those in official posts about reservation.
All these are sheer evidences of shadow war going on in the government system against reservation. One could easily suspect moves to sabotage or indefinitely delay the lists that are deemed beneficial to the backward classes in any way by citing technical obstacles or creating legal tangles being carried out. Such are the circumstances. The political leadership backs these attempts. The complicated legal proceedings related to the SI rank list are one of the consequences. If the reserved communities aren’t vigilant enough, the anti-reservation campaigners with the backing of the government would surely sabotage the system.