Thursday, March 29, 2007

Delayed Justice by Supreme Court

In what could be termed as a landmark decision, the apex court of the country has stayed the implementation of the 27% quota for the Other Backward Casts in all educational institutions across the country from the academic year starting in 2007.

The present government had implemented a new legislation in April last year under the leadership of Arjun Singh, the minister for Human Resource Development, reserving 27% of seats in all educational institutions across the country. The legislation was passed under the 9th schedule, which was not under the judicial review at that time. The entire country witnessed an uproar against the legislation which many termed as unfair and cheap vote-bank political game being played by the politicians before the elections.

In the first landmark decision by the apex court, the court ruled in January that all laws under the 9th schedule were subjected to judicial review. With this new judgment, many organizations especially those led by students across the country, filed a case in the apex court seeking a stay of this legislation. The court has delivered its verdict today and according to me justice, albeit delayed, has finally been done.

The court stayed the legislation saying to the government “Don’t divide the country only because of your vote bank” and “The consequence of this quota would be very bad”. The court has asked the government for adequate data and the reason for implementing the quota, and has deferred its final judgment to August.

My faith and hope on this country has been restored a wee bit by this judgment, as I am beginning to believe that there is some governing body in the country which can stop our corrupt politicians from implementing laws that are unconstitutional.

Now the ball is back in the government’s court, and I am waiting to see how they play it from now on. They can neither retrace their steps and withdraw the quota legislation, as it would severely impact their vote bank, nor can they defy the supreme court.

The course of action which is most likely to happen is that the government would go for a caste based census of the population, as the data on which the original legislation is based is 76 years old. So we are going to have a bunch of people roaming around the length and breadth of the country asking people their religion, caste and sub-caste!

Its ironic that such a census would be happening while another group of politicians and industry stalwarts give us dreams of a developed India, 9% growth, et all.


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