The SC has stayed the Government’s bill to provide 27% reservation for OBCs (Other Backward Classes) in IITs and IIMs, on the grounds that the 1931 census cannot be the basis of identifying the OBCs.
This is neither a win for the anti-reservationists nor a setback for the pro-reservationists. Imo, it is a real win for the principle of Reservation. Let me explain.
There cannot be two opinions about the need for reservations as a means to make opportunities available for the socially deprived sections of the society. But as experts and scholars have pointed out in many fora, Reservations cannot be perpetual nor can they be cornered by the creamy layers. But attempts are being made to ensure that these 2 expectations are violated in letter and spirit. For example, there is a talk to include reservations in private employment, in promotions and even an unfortunate quota for Muslims in the Defence Forces. Needless to say, these are backed by intentions to garner the votes of specific communities rather than anything else.
Getting back to the point under discussion, there is no reason why IITs and IIMs should be the exclusive privelege of a few sections of students who can afford the extensive preparation and natural advantages of good education at the school level. When will the kids who have studied in rural schools and corporation schools in cities ever get to enter the portals of such great institutions?
But to base the entire bill on a census that is more than 75 years old reeks of an hidden agenda. Are there classes or castes identified in that census as Backward being lobbied for regardless of their status as of date? Are there vested interests at play? Why has the Government chosen to base its law on that particular census?
Unless the answers to such questions are known, the Reservation Bill itself would be a farce.