Another day, another reservation policy expansion


Chhattisgarh’s reported move to expand reservations, such that quotas will account for 81% of government jobs and higher education is a sign of things to come. Some weeks ago, SC had allowed the 50% cap to be breached, when it ruled that the EWS quota was constitutional.

Despite the majority ruling that the Indra Sawhney’s 50% cap was to apply to reservations before the EWS quota -namely for SC, ST and OBCs – politicians are unlikely to abide by it. From adequate representation, Chhattisgarh is moving the needle on backward class reservation to proportional representation. Several states are seeking exemption from the 50% cap imposed through judicial review through demands for placing their reservation laws in the Ninth Schedule, which had attempted to insulate a section of laws from judicial oversight.

However, SC had ruled in IR Coelho case(2007) that the Ninth Schedule laws can also be reviewed. But the top court hasn’t yet disposed of the constitutional challenge to the placing of TN’s breach of the 50% cap in the Ninth Schedule. With that remaining pending, will GoI accede to recent demands by Karnataka, Jharkhand and now Chhattisgarh to place their quota laws also under Ninth Schedule?

The bottom line is that the growing reservation demands are proving unmanageable. Soon a situation could come where the non-reserved groups will say 10% EWS reservation is inadequate. Instead of quotas, GoI and states must double down on job creation. Talking about adequate and proportional representation isn’t going to solve the unemployment problem.



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