Saturday 9 June 2012

Congress's Muslim Quota Stand Looks Weak

Written by Anil Singh

The UPA Government in Centre (Congress and Allies) has moved to Supreme Court over order against 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities. Those still uninitated on thsi matter, here is a snippet:

The Centre has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court's order quashing the 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities in educational institutions and government jobs. The top court will hear the government's plea on Monday. A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and J S Khehar is to examine the Centre's appeal, which has contended that the Andhra Pradesh High Court had taken an erroneous view in striking down the provision despite the decision to provide the quota was done after an extensive survey.

A division bench of the High Court had, on May 28, struck down the government's controversial sub-quota for minorities, carved out from the existing 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Holding that the Centre acted in a "casual manner", the court said that the Office Memorandum (OM) creating the sub-quota was based on religious grounds and not on any other intelligible consideration.

More than the High Court, the Congress's stand appears Weak:

First of all, let I tell you, the point where the Central Government's stand is quite valid.

The point is: Our Constitution allows the Central Government to enact special laws for minorities and other weaker sections. But if a Court, as in this case the HC, thwarts the Government's move and calls the move unlawful, the Government can make amends to the said law OR enact a New Law in parliament. For this it has to follow the procedure stated in the Constitution of India.

Hence, all those who say, Minority Quota is unconstitutional, are wrong. In the light of current laws it can be unlawful; but it is not unconstitutional.

Now let come to why the Congress's stand appears Weak.

For Simple reason: It can't apply the logic of social disadvantage in the case of Minority Reservation.

The bedrock on which the Quota system in India is founded, is the social disadvantage certain castes have to face in Indian society. For instance, Upper castes practice purity rules while dealing with Lower castes.

When Congress says it will give Quaota to all Muslims (minorities) it includes even upper castes in these religions. That's if the Quota is for minorities, then even the Saiyyadas and Siddiquis (upper caste muslims), Jains, Dhillon and kohlis (Upper caste Sikhs) also come under its ambit. And since these upper castes don't have to deal with Social disadvantage, hence there's no question of them benefiting from Quota.

Second question which reflects negatively on UPA is: Why do they go for a sub-quota for Minorities in the OBC Quota.

Any logical person can ask: Why an SC Muslim should be be given a quota under OBC category.

If Congress wants the welfare of Muslims and Minoities then it should be giving the social disadvantaged groups in these religions under the current Quoat system i.e. for SC. ST, OBC.

If Minorities face discrimination in India, then it is Security and NOT the Quota Problem:

The logic that the minorities (Muslims. Sikhs) face safety and security in the country; which in turn prevents them from rightful stake in the services and other resources, looks weak. As if Quota is offered to all in the minority religions then the disenfranchised and weaker will never get the quota benefit. All seats would be taken by the elite. Secondly, even when the socially disadvantaged & poor in these religions will not be benefiting from quota, he will have to face alienation from rival religions more than he faces at present.

I think, the Government is hoping that when more people from minority enter top Government services (like Civil Services and Universities), the atrocities on minorities (like riots in Punjab and Gujarat) will automatically decrease. Although this line of thinking, can prove to be a partial solution to the problem. But, in a country where Politicians rule the roost, this solution can't be a panacea.

But to effect even such a plan, the Government should come up with a more palatable model.

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