A quota regime well beyond its laid-down time-frame is not only retrograde, it also militates against the spirit of democracy, which must not be tolerated in the 21st century.
And when it comes to an institution like the proposed Lokpal --- its chief objective being to fight and weed out corruption, and not to function as a job-generating entity --- quota to the extent of 50 per cent in the nine-member panel defeats the very purpose of the much-vaunted legislation. Sorabjee, a former Attorney General, no wonder, is baffled.
'What is minority in the context of Lokpal? Lokpal is not to generate jobs but to fight corruption. Why is reservation given? It was to ensure that those who have been oppressed for centuries were given a level-playing field. In the context of Lokpal, the reservation is completely extraneous. Where is the question of empowering or redressing oppression in the appointments to the Lokpal body?' he has asked.
But Union ministers like M Veerappa Moily, an overzealous advocate of quotas, and quotas within quotas, are least bothered. Moily, no wonder too, has defended the reservation provision in the Lokpal panel, arguing that it is not reservation in the strict sense (emphasis ours) but a provision to ensure representation of all sections in the Constitutional body.
One wonders when Ministers like him, reluctant to confess to having destroyed meritocracy by effecting a retrogressive quota system in all walks of government life, will clarify what they mean by such strict sense and how so-called representation of all sections even in the Lokpal panel, meant to fight corruption in a focused fashion, will help the nation become free of the present, well-sustained monstrosity of graft!
The political eye of the Congress is on elections in Uttar Pradesh, and here it must consolidate its lost vote bank, be it so-called minorities (read Muslims) or the OBCs who the likes of Mulayam Singh Yadav will leave no stone unturned to woo, apart from the evolving Mayavati factor out to reach out to all sections of the UP society.
So, while Rahul Gandhi is being fielded for new political penetrations at the grassroots level, the Congress must also prove its so-called commitment to the many classes it has in mind, chief being Muslims who have drifted away from the Congress pivot of attraction.
One hopes that liberal, enlightened, well-educated Muslims would rubbish the very idea of quota in the Lokpal panel, as would they too in the SCs-STs-OBCs populace who are desirous of moving ahead in sync with time, and not wedded to outmoded quota-centric doctrines. The Congress-led UPA government has erred badly this time too. When will it learn some good lessons?