The Supreme Court on Tuesday has urged the Centre and the state governments to scrap the reservation system in all institutions of higher education and to take effective steps to implement the order without delay.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and P C Pant was considering the pleas challenging the eligibility criteria for admissions into super-specialty courses in medical institutions in Andra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. The Court held that upholding national interest requires doing away with all forms of reservation on the basis of caste, religion, residence or other criteria with the move nullifying all chances for the reserved communities. The Supreme Court expressed regret that 'some privileges remained unchanged' even after 68 years of independence. The displeasure in not implementing two similar judgements by the Court 27 years ago, so far has what has prompted the apex Court to make the move. It maintained that the reservation system would strike out the qualified and eligible candidates thereby quashing the general interest of the country and is similar to the elite mentality of upholding the ‘merit’. The omission of the qualified candidates has been the ideological basis of the anti-reservation vibes that began with the implementation of the reservation system before independence. Only those who meet the primary criteria for eligibility are entitled to reservation. The fact that no disqualified candidates would sail though using reservation is still kept concealed. A large section of the community is being denied what they deserve despite having eligibility due to the historic and social causes as well as being outside the control of the existing social order. Currently, the representation of the backward communities in higher sectors is trivial the reason for which is the planned overturn of the reservation system within the government.
The Supreme Court should have expressed displeasure in the reserved communities not being able to acquire the share of power proportional to the population rate even after 68 years of independence. The Court should have expressed regret in the backward classes failing to raise their social status. If the Union and state governments were directed to submit a report concerning the above factors within a fixed time frame, the Supreme Court’s intervention would have led to a drastic social change. Analyzing whether the court verdicts in different circumstances had sabotaged the basic goals of the reservation system which aims to boost the social status of the backward classes is also relevant. The mooting of creamy layer limit, the inclusion of financial criteria in reservation and the crushing of the reservation system was all backed by the court verdict. In all the later reservation related discourses, the economic status of the citizens came in and finally progressed to the concept of reservation for the economically backward class among the upper class communities. Even though there are copious studies showing that money alone would not resolve the fundamental issues including that of caste, nobody including the courts are ready to take them for granted. The Court should inquire as to why the reservation system failed to achieve its goals even after 68 years of attaining freedom. The inquiry would lead to the re-analysis and revamping of the existing reservation system. Through this step, the communities that are eligible could be removed and the backward classes could be given the deserved consideration. The apex Court instead of suggesting the revamp of the reservation system that should have commenced by asserting its necessity, gave orders to scrap the system. While the right-wing extremists happily welcomed the verdict, it upset the destitute backward communities. If the observation was based on rough estimates, the Court should have directed to submit the caste census which would surely reveal the plight of the poor and backward classes. The Court has failed to notice that the presence of lawmakers from backward communities to retain and implement reservation in higher education sectors and other areas is also, negligible. What is more shameful than the country failing to nurture capable lawmakers even after six decades?