Supreme Court’s ‘No right to Reservation’ ruling makes #casteistjudiciary trend on twitter
The ruling, which was delivered on Friday, escaped scrutiny because of the Delhi election. But the controversial judgment opens yet another front with pressure mounting on Govt to make its stand clear
With a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruling that there is no fundamental right to ‘reservation’ in jobs and promotion and there is no obligation for the government to reserve jobs and posts for different categories, the hashtag #CasteistJudiciary trended on Twitter on Sunday.
“How one can trust judiciary if no judges from more than 50% of population are posted as judges to higher judiciary? How can justice be expected from judges belonging to just 7 % of population?” read a tweet while others raked up the public speech delivered by a High Court judge in Kerala, Justice V Chitambaresh, while speaking at Kochi had suggested that Brahmins should occupy the key posts.
“It is for you to deliberate as to whether reservation should be based on the community or caste alone,” he was quoted as saying, “I am not expressing any opinion at all. But I am only kindling your interest or reminding you that there is a platform for you to agitate or voice your concern that [there should be] economic reservation alone.”
The judge said it was up to Brahmins to be more vocal and coordinated in advocating for their caste, suggesting that “only the crying child will get milk” and that “the time has come for us to play in an orchestra, and not to continue to play solo”.
Most people pointed out that the ruling, described as problematic by several jurists, was in line with the thinking of the RSS, which has made no secret to its opposition to reservations in Government. Both RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and other RSS office bearers have been on record advocating a second look at reservation.
While the court based its ruling on the ground that all citizens are equal and reservations are discriminatory, critics point out that the Constitution calls for substantive equality and enjoins a duty on the Government to collect data on discrimination and inequality in jobs and then remedy the situation.
Congress leader Udit Raj said on Sunday that at a time when the Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were worried at Reservations not working well (there is a solitary SC Secretary to the Government of India, he claimed), the Supreme Court’s ruling was disturbing.
Uttarakhand Government in 2012 had filled up vacancies without reserving posts for SCs and STs. The High Court had directed the state government to quantify the representation of SCs and STs and then decide on reservation. The state government had challenged the decision and the Supreme Court ruling has now freed it from the obligation of even collecting data, instead saying that it would be for the Government to use its discretion on providing reservation or not.
Legal website Bar & Bench summed up the ruling as follows:
· The collection of data regarding the inadequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is a pre requisite for providing reservations
- Such collection is not required when the State Government decided not to provide reservations.
- Not being bound to provide reservations in promotions, the State is not required to justify its decision on the basis of quantifiable data, showing that there is an adequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in State services.
- Even if the underrepresentation of Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes in public services is brought to the notice of this Court, no mandamus can be issued by this Court to the State Government to provide reservations in light of the law laid down by this Court in CA Rajendran v. Union of India and Suresh Chand Gautam v. State of UP.