The Supreme Court of India which has given its thumps up by upholding the constitutional validity of the 27% OBC Quota in educational institutions appears to have give a thumps down on the issue of its perpetual existence.
The Judges appear to have been up heaved by the fact that Parliament invariably secures extensions before the deadlines. This issue has engaged the attention of all the five judges who constituted the Bench hearing the case. The penchant for extensions has been amply demonstrated by the judges with evidence. Article 334 of the Constitution had originally mandated that reservations for SCs/STs and Anglo Indians in Lok Sabha and Assemblies would be for a period of 10 years and as per this this should have ceased to exist in 1960; but through the 45th Constitutional Amendment, this was extended from 10 to 30 years and then again by the 62nd and 79th Amendments, they were extended by ten years each. Thus, according to Justice Mr.Bhandari that it is not politically feasible for the Parliament to say no to reservation especially when caste is involved and it is for the Judiciary to put a stop to caste based reservation. To accomplish this, it would be desirable to substitute the caste with economic criteria ten years hence as the basis for reservation.
The same views were echoed by Justice Mr.Arjit Pasayat and Mr.C.K. Thakur. To quote them, ‘if after nearly six decades the objectives (of the quota) have not been achieved, necessarily the need for its continuance warrants deliberation. It is to be noted that some of the provisions were intended to be replaced after a decade but have continued. It indirectly shows that backwardness appears to have purportedly increased and not diminished’.
Mr.Justice K.G.Balakrishnan, the Chief Justice was of the view that there could be certain amount of ‘reverse discrimination’ but it is for the Parliament to review the social and educational advancement of Backward classes.