Is Bihar trying to tamper with reservation in state Public Service Commission?
A review panel had asked on the Bihar Public Service Commission website for people’s views on holding separate examinations for the reserved and the general categories
An exercise may have been started to tamper with the reservation process in Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC). The Commission has appointed a review committee for competitive examinations conducted by it. The three-member committee is headed by Professor Ramkishor Singh. The two others on the panel are Shakti Samant, member of BPSC and Mohammad Gansuddin Ansari, deputy secretary of BPSC and member secretary of this committee.
The panel had put up some questions on the Commission's website to gauge popular opinion. They included one where people were asked about their views on the subject of holding separate examinations for the reserved and the general categories. In the context of this shocking question, National Herald contacted Shakti Samant. The site claimed that Samant has put together the issues raised by this committee in form of questions. Before joining BPSC as a member, Samant, who himself comes from an OBC background, was teaching courses in Delhi-based tutorial centres for Central Public Service Commission examinations.
Responding to National Herald’s query that whether by proposing separate examinations for reserved and general quotas, he was advocating to restrict the reserved category to 50 per cent and simultaneously giving reservations to the general category in a roundabout manner, Samant said, “Candidates under reserved category can also sit for the examinations meant for those under the general category. That is, if they want to take the examination in both the categories, then they can go for it.”
However, Samant could not satisfactorily answer when he was quizzed on if the proposal sought to put the burden of double examinations on the candidates of the reserved category.
While posting the questions on the website, the committee had claimed that people belonging to reserved category are not aware of better utilisation of the reservation. The committee was apparently concerned about keeping the alleged creamy layer of the SC-ST group away from the reservation. When asked if the committee had asked respondents to disclose their caste identity Samant said “No”. So it is implicit that the committee did not deem it necessary to factor in the opinion of the people belonging to the reserved category on the question of their own representation in BPSC.
Premkumar Mani, former member of Bihar Legislative Council, said that this was a new way of discriminating against people belonging to reserved categories and that it should be opposed. According to him, “this is being done with the intention to influence the principle of reservation.”