Government defends OBC quota list
It appears that the government is trying to argue that caste is the main (if not the only) requirement for a group to gain entry into the OBC list. This would be an effective way to deflect people who want data and not life stories to dictate public policy.
Mr Vahanvati argued :
“In matters of this kind, namely removal of backwardness, removal of untouchability and achieving a casteless society, there can be no time limits. No time limits can be fixed for the measures of social engineering,” he said.
Source : HT
Lets leave untouchablity out of this. Why cant there be a time frame for removal of “backwardness” ? If there is program without a timeframe, then there is no way to calibrate it.
No data required
Central to the governments’ arguments lie the intepretation that : like SCs the SeBCs are also purely caste based. There is no need for data, because even if you could show that every OBC owned a beach house and a Mercedes it would make no difference. (Sorry for the extreme example, but this is a theoretical possibility). In other words, data is deemed illogical !!!
If caste is identified as being backward and individual survey for determination of Socially and Educationally Backward classes is out of question then nothing more can be done. Caste should be considered as the determining factor of backwardness for the purposes of reservation, said centre.
Source : Economic Times
The question is: If caste alone determines membership into the OBC group, then states like TN who have classified 72% as OBC (NSSO 61st round) need to be explained. Are the remaining 4% (NSSO 61st round) so dominant politically, economically, and educationally (control of private education) – that they can drive so many into backwardness. Conversely, are Bengal, Assam, and J&K such a picture of harmony ? If caste alone determines OBC status, then what about Muslims and Christians ?
Inclusion of castes
The court recently asked whether a single caste has been expelled from the OBC list (remember TN is approaching 85+ years of caste based reservation).
Mr Vahanvati said :
… National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has rejected several politically dominant castes including Khandayat from Orissa and Marathas from Maharashtra
Source : Economic Times
The government claimed that no complaint has been received for over-inclusion so far (removal of a caste from the OBC list)
To a question why not a single caste had been excluded from the list so far, Mr. Vahanvati told the Bench, “There has not been a single complaint made before the State Commission or the National Commission with regard to overinclusion of any caste or community.”
Source : Hindu
The question is : Is this level of public participation desirable or even possible in this issue ? How can anyone complain if there is no up-to-date public data available for each caste in the OBC list ? Is the public expected to conduct private field studies targeting the removal of a caste from the list ?
No body would like to target a single caste. This policy, even if it worked exactly as designed will is a recipe for caste wars.
Meanwhile, the Law and Other Things blog thinks the governments arguments are “robust”.