The five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, after a prolonged battle upheld the 93rd amendment of the constitution
providing 27% reservation for the OBCs in Central Higher Educational Institutions in a supposedly land mark verdict on 10 April 2008.
The SC had also said that the 27% reservation for OBCs could be implemented from the current year (2008-09) onwards.
The salient features of the verdict are, the ‘Creamy Layer’ must be excluded from the ambit of reservation after verification as per the
‘Office Memorandum’ of September 1993 and the Office of Memorandum must be amended to include MPs and MLAs. Quotas must also
be based on ‘economic’ backwardness and not on castes alone to ensure proper identification of ‘Socially & Educationally Backward
CLASSES’. Quotas cannot be in perpetuity and the system must be reviewed every five years. No quota benefits for PG Courses, as
graduates lose their educationally backward status.
The abovesaid salient features come as a blessing in disguise for all the right-thinking citizens of the country, who don’t believe in the
so-called OBC classification and who prefer admissions based only on merit. It is a known fact that the majority of the political class
fought for the inclusion of the creamy layer right from the beginning, refusing to review the system under operation so far. So, how can
they be trusted to ensure ‘honest’ implementation of the SC’s direction on creamy layer and economic criteria? What is the guarantee
that they would not ‘manipulate’ and reduce the range of creamy layer? What is the guarantee that this system would be reviewed every
The main objective of the Constituent Assembly was that, poverty and caste discrimination must be eradicated from the society. That is
why, it sanctioned reservation benefits only for the really backward, that is the SCs & STs, who have a history of being victims of
discrimination. It is to be noted that this concession was given to them by the Constituent Assembly only for a period of ten years! Since
then, the successive governments, with the connivance of all the political classes, have perpetually increased the time & quota limits
and created many other caste formations such as BCs, MBCs and OBCs through Constitutional Amendments without bothering much
about the basic structure of the Constitution. They have also added many more castes in those formations every now and then based on
their vote-bank strength. No government had the vision for the future and care for the generation next to take it forward in pursuit of
progress and prosperity.
Such callous games played by the politicos have resulted in the primary & secondary education still remaining inaccessible to the poor &
downtrodden. The educational infrastructure is in a pathetic state in rural areas. The quality of teachers in rural areas is not up to scratch
and their inefficiency affects the learning ability of the students. All these anomalies lead to ‘drop-outs’ or ‘substandard’ students, who
find it very difficult to cope with the syllabi when they go for higher secondary or college studies.
Ultimately the main objective of the Constituent Assembly has gone for a six, resulting in the society remaining divided along caste lines
and poverty taking strong roots and formation of an unbridgeable gap between the rich and the poor. Without rectifying these
fundamental problems, what is the point in extending the reservation benefits? A proper review, say in the sixties or seventies or even in
the eighties, would have helped in avoiding the ‘Mandal Madness’, which has worsened the system further for the detriment of the
society. Such a review would have also helped in changing the system and moving forward towards the real empowerment of poorer
classes, thereby nearing the achievement of true social justice.
The so-called 9th Schedule was yet another ploy of the political class to give protection to the devious laws from the scrutiny of
Judiciary. Some of the Acts like Tamil Nadu Act of 1994 (69% reservations) have been placed under the 9th Schedule. But fortunately, a
Nine-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court had come out with a landmark judgment in January 2007 saying that the laws taking shelter
under the IX Schedule of the Constitution of India are subject to judicial review.
The inference derived from the practice of the present system so far is that, neither the country nor the intended people have benefited.
If the SCs, STs and the most backwards are still in the same status even after five decades, then it clearly shows that there is something
seriously wrong with the system. There is a funny aspect, which makes a mockery of the system and that is, the backwardness increases
along with the increase in literacy rate! The present judgment of the SC is in no way going to help correct the situation, as long as
primary & secondary education remain inaccessible to the poor and downtrodden at the rural areas! The SC has failed to note that the
93rd amendment has violated the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution and unfortunately played in to the hands of the political class. The
Supreme Court’s Judgment has neither courage nor conviction, but only confusion in the name of balancing! It had upheld an
amendment, which was a fraud on Constitution!