The Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) have been provided with reservation in jobs and also in education in the government on the basis of constitutional and statutory provisions in order to address the problems of discrimination, inequality and deprivation caused by castes, which in the words of Dr B R Ambedkar constituted “ascending order of reverence and descending order of contempt”.
But ever since the BJP came to power with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been raising the issue of reservation with a sinister motive of ending the very state policy on reservation. RSS top leadership once had called for putting an end to reservation. Later it demanded a public debate on the merit of reservation. It is clear that the RSS, whose ideology is divisive, sectarian and Manuwadi is opposed to social justice and reservation. BJP, being its political arm, is executing its designs manipulating the political discourse.
But what is shocking today is the recent Supreme Court verdict on the responsibility of states to provide reservation. A two-member bench consisting of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta ruled that “Article 16 (4) and 16 (4A) are in the nature of enabling provisions, vesting a discretion on the state government to consider providing reservation, if the circumstances so warrant. It is a settled law that the State government cannot be directed to provide reservation for appointment in public posts. Similarly the state is not bound to make reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in matters of promotions.”