SC: Use quota to transcend caste, not perpetuate it
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Amidst the din over quota, the Supreme Court has cautioned against any disproportionate use of "reservation" saying it would prove counterproductive and only help perpetuate casteism.
"Reservation is necessary for transcending caste and not for perpetuating it. Reservation has to be used in a limited sense, otherwise it will perpetuate casteism in the country," a five-judge Constitution Bench said in its recent order upholding the validity of certain constitutional amendments empowering the state to make laws providing reservation for SCs and STs in the matter of promotions in government jobs.
The Bench consisting Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal and Justices K G Balakrishnan, S H Kapadia, C K Thakker and P K Balasubramanyam, while fully recognising the social justice cause that underlies principles of reservation, also founded its advise to the Centre and state governments to stick to the 50 per cent ceiling with some sound logic. The court warned that any breach in the cut-off point could lead to a "reverse discrimination".
"Anti-discrimination legislation has a tendency of pushing towards de facto reservation. Therefore, a numerical benchmark is the surest immunity against charges of reservation," the judgment emphasised.
Another point on which the judgment revolves and which holds immense significance to the current quota debate is the Supreme Court's insistence on a quantifiable data to back any law on reservation. The court underlined this while upholding the validity of the 77th, 81st, 82nd and 85th Constitutional amendments.
Drawing a distinction between the amendments, which merely vested the state with power to make laws for reservation in promotion for SCs and STs and the law itself, the court said any such law would be liable to be struck down if it does not satisfy the existence of compelling reasons like "backwardness, inadequacy of representation and administrative efficiency".
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