Special Correspondent

For keeping all reservation-related laws beyond judicial review

  • Supreme Court order "unfortunate"
  • Seeks speedy passage of Bill

    NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Scheduled Castes has recommended keeping all reservation-related laws beyond judicial review by putting them in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.

    It has also sought a separate bill to render "null and void" the recent Supreme Court judgment, suggesting exclusion of the "creamy layer" from the ambit of reservation.

    Sharing the highlights of the Commission's first annual report presented to the President on July 13 with the media here on Tuesday, Commission Vice-Chairperson Fakirbhai Vaghela described as "unfortunate" the Supreme Court order on the "creamy layer."

    The concept was linked only with reservation for the Other Backward Classes, where the criterion was based only on economic backwardness, he said.

    "The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes are not only just economically backward. They also face discrimination and oppression even if economically better-off."

    Reservation, he said, should be linked to population. The five-member Bench judgment could be challenged before a larger Bench or made ineffective through legislation. The Commission would now approach the elected representatives to put pressure on the Government to bring in legislation in Parliament.

    The Commission stressed the need for speedy passage of the Bill on Reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Posts/Services to improve their representation and bring uniformity in the implementation of the reservation policy and simultaneously provide for punitive measures against non-implementing organisations and individuals. The Bill is pending with the Ministry.

    Among the other major recommendations made in the report, now with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Commission favoured extension of reservation in promotion at all levels, including groups A and B, clearing of backlog and shortfall in Scheduled Castes in services by launching special recruitment drives in a time-bound manner.

    The Department of Personnel and Training should calculate the backlog and select Schedule Caste candidates from among the available eligible lot called for interview, thereby doing away with the criteria of "not-found suitable." On the economic and social development front, the Commission said the State Governments should ensure that allocations under the Special Component Plan were in the ratio of Schedule Caste population and funds were utilised properly under the Special Central Assistance scheme.

    Proper coaching and training should be imparted to the SC candidates to equip them for competitive examinations.

    New primary schools should be opened in areas having a high concentration of the SC population.

    Making a special mention of the atrocities against Scheduled Castes in Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Vaghela said the State topped the list and the issues were more in the nature of confrontation over land grabbing by OBCs. The cases showed an increase in the past five years.