By Sunil Garodia
What happened was bound to happen and more such cases will follow. When the government starts bowing to this or that pressure group and starts dishing out parts of the fast dwindling job pie to reservations, there is bound to come a time when people would start seeking reservation in newer areas and in innovative ways.
Rajneesh Kumar Pandey had filed a petition in the Supreme Court that sought to have 10 percent quota for the economically backward sections in the Central Teachers Eligibility Test (CTET). CTET is a qualifying exam that has to be cleared by candidates from all sections of society. It is not an exam that guarantees a job but clearing it makes you eligible to be selected for a teacher’s job in schools run by Central government and other schools that accept it.
The apex court threw out his petition. It said that there can be no reservation in a qualifying exam. Calling the petition “misconceived”, the court said that the question of quotas can come up only at the time of admission. It clarified that there was no reservation in CTET even for SC’s, ST’s or OBC’s.
In this particular case, the petitioner – and more importantly his lawyer – completely missed the underlying issue and perhaps got confused over the status of the exam. They failed to understand that the candidates would have to either apply to individual schools citing their CTET scores or might get a call from such schools if their scores were very high. But in no way would they get a job by just clearing CTET.
But whatever the reason of their filing the petition, one thing is clear from this – the more you pander to pressure groups, the more pressure groups will come into existence. The whole system of quotas in jobs, and now promotions, needs to be studied in detail. To rectify wrongs, we should not allow more wrongs to come into force. The way higher caste students with 90 to 95 percent marks are sidelined to give jobs to students from the reserved quotas with just 60 percent marks is wrong. Their only fault is that they were born in the wrong caste.
SC’s, ST’s and OBC’s were discriminated against for centuries. We are trying to set that right by giving them reserved seats in institutes of higher learning and then by giving them jobs. But in the process, we are discriminating against meritorious students. Maybe 200 years from now, we will have to set this wrong right and have reservations for meritorious students! Then why not find a balance now by revisiting the whole process of reservations? Is there any political party in India courageous enough to do so? There seems to be no hope as Kamandal is trying to adopt Mandal and others are taking about Nyay. Merit is bound to the big loser in such a scenario.