Another day, another reservation policy expansion

Chhattisgarh’s reported move to expand protected areas such that quotas would account for 81% of government jobs and higher education is a sign of things to come. A few weeks ago, the SC allowed a breach of the 50% limit, when it ruled that the EWS quota was constitutional.

Although the majority ruled that Indra Sawhney’s 50% cap would apply to EWS quota reservations – specifically for SC, ST and OBC – politicians were unlikely to stick to it. From full representation, Chhattisgarh is shifting the guideline of backward class reservation to proportional representation. Several states are seeking exemptions from the 50% cap imposed through judicial review through requests to include their reservation laws in Schedule Ninth, which has attempted to partially protect the law from judicial supervision.

However, the SC ruled in IR Coelho (2007) that the Ninth Schedule laws could also be reviewed. But the top court has yet to handle the constitutional challenge to TN violating the 50% limit on the Ninth Schedule. With the rest pending, will the GoI agree to recent requests by Karnataka, Jharkhand and now Chhattisgarh to set their quota laws also under the Ninth Schedule?

The bottom line is that the growing demand for reservations is proving unmanageable. Before long, a situation may arise where non-reservation groups will say that a 10% EWS reservation is not enough. Instead of quotas, GoI and states must double job creation. Talking about full and proportional representation will not solve the problem of unemployment.




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