miércoles, 13 de febrero de 2019

Pseudo-social justice | The Indian Express

Pseudo-social justice | The Indian Express

Pseudo-social justice

Policy is not based on assessments of deprivation — it merely addresses specific groups

EWS quota, ews quota jobs, 10 percent quota, ews 10 percent quota, ews quota jobs, ews general category quota, indian express, latest news
Reservation appears to be the only answer to all our socio-economic complications. (Illustration by C R Sasikumar/File)
The Gujjars of Rajasthan are back on the streets. This could be seen as an attempt to corner the newly-formed Congress government in the state. Both Congress and BJPhave had the taste of Gujjar wrath earlier. It could also be seen as an extension of intra-party factionalism playing out in the open for the Congress. Nevertheless, the renewed agitation alerts us to the larger complications facing policy-making. Reservation appears to be the only answer to all our socio-economic complications. Thus, over and above party competition and internal factionalism, the Gujjar agitation represents the difficulties and distortions that have crept into the reservation regime. And it is not the only agitation of this type.
A similar agitation is waiting to happen in Maharashtra — by the Dhangar community, over their demand for inclusion in the ST category. Unrest among the Patidars of Gujarat and Jats of Haryana is simmering and can explode any time into another round of agitation for reservation. At the same time, the Bombay High Court is hearing a petition demanding that the state’s decision to extend 16 per cent reservation to Marathas be stayed/struck down. The apex court, similarly, is hearing a petition against the constitutional amendment extending reservations to economically weaker sections. Petitions over expansion of reservation beyond 50 per cent are already pending before the court. Thus, even as reservation appears to be the only solution for demands by many communities, the reservation regime is becoming more and more litigation-prone.
For staunch proponents of reservation, these troubles can be resolved by doing away with the 50 per cent cap altogether. The latest amendment giving reservation to the poor has already opened the doors for such parliamentary adventurism. It has done away with the constitutionally permitted gatekeeping mechanism of social and educational backwardness and opened up reservation to everyone — irrespective of social backwardness.
In other words, the solution is to free the reservation policy of the chains of constitutional reasonableness as mandated by the judiciary. This overemphasis on the idea of reservation is marked by four critical aspects that signify a move away from the constitutional scheme of positive discrimination.
One, as we recently witnessed in Parliament, there is a complete absence of genuine debate on the question. No party could take a nuanced position on the issue of “reservation for poor”. In a sense, this is only to be expected if one considers the political fallout of such nuance. Post-Mandal, there has seldom been any serious review or re-examination in our public political life of the way in which the reservation policy is moving. The political arena is much more strongly affected by this new consensus that quietly took shape in the post-Mandal era. So much so that, recently, a lawyer arguing on behalf of the petitioners challenging Maratha reservation was manhandled outside the court. No political party or politician can raise questions about the matter. This is a classic case of consensus as closure. There is a complete closure of the public debate on reservation.

Two, over the quarter century since Mandal, the reservation regime has expanded in many directions. Ironically, most of the times, expansion has contributed to the de-legitimation of the original idea behind reservation. When the reservation policy went beyond SCs and STs, despite the fact that the expansion was justified, it effectively diluted the sharpness of the tool — that it would be employed for extreme cases of discrimination and exclusion. Down the line, when different communities began to claim that they are backward and deserving of reservation, the political clout of these communities and their relatively less deprived conditions meant that the logic of discrimination got diluted. Finally, when the idea of reservations is used to address economic infirmity, the entire basis of the reservation policy gets displaced.

No hay comentarios: