Reservations: Leave the Judiciary AloneIn a recent speech in UP, Nitish Kumar demanded reservation for dalits in the judiciary. He said that the current reservation policy and the one envisaged by Babasaheb Ambedkar trace its origin to Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj. However, much needs to be done and achieved. We have miles to go. The 'bahujans' must get reservation in every field and sector including the judiciary. While Nitish did not go on to elaborate on this, it was not an off the cuff remark and one is sure a lot would be heard about it in coming days.
By Sunil Garodia
In a bid to win the support of dalits before the UP elections, Nitish has made a grave error. Despite the political necessity for affirmative action, there are some areas where merit has to rule. Judiciary is one such area. Indian judiciary is known for its independence and is a strong pillar of support to the citizens against the arbitrary and highhanded decisions of the political, bureaucratic and business classes. Hence, all attempts to politicize it should be strongly resisted.
As it is, there is an ongoing tussle between the government and the Supreme Court over the right to appointment of judges to high courts and the Supreme Court. The apex court had already rejected the NJAC and reverted to the collegiums system. But the government has been sending back suggested names. This has created a situation where justice is suffering due to huge vacancies in high courts. If an element of reservation is introduced to further politicize the process, there will be a complete breakdown.
Dalits or other socially disadvantaged persons can be handheld only this far and no further. This far in case of India means till higher education. When there is an element of competition for jobs which help in governing the country, even a 5% relaxation of marks for candidates citing affirmative action is regressive and should not be tolerated. If a disadvantaged person cannot compete with his peers on equal terms despite having been provided with free education and admissions to elite institutions on relaxed norms, he is not worth to be employed. The best should be employed to run the nation or its judiciary. If dalits can make it on merit, they are most welcome. But neither reservation nor relaxed norms should be allowed for judicial posts.