By Shayamvar Deb, MATS Law School, Raipur.

Finally, the Fadnabis Government has decided to repeal 5% reservation to the Muslim community in both jobs and education. A resolution dated as on March 02, 2015 by the Government of Maharashtra was announced with the cancellation of the earlier resolution of July 24, 2014 brought in by the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party Government that announced the 5% reservation for Muslims. The same resolution also included 16% reservation of the Marathas, which get upheld by the new BJP Government through a bill introduced in last December.

Findings

The Sachar Committee headed by Ranganath Mishra, J on its report regarding reservation for the Muslims derived the following findings:

  1. In any nation, the faith and confidence of the minorities in the functioning of the State in an impartial manner is an acid test of its being a just State.
  2. While the perception of deprivation is widespread among Muslims, there has been no systematic effort since Independence to analyse the condition of religious Minorities in the country.
  3. Sense of inequity may be perceptual or a result of discrimination that the Minority may face due to difference in “identity”.
  4. There is not at all a perception among Muslim Minority which is correct, but the same is not also built within a vacuum.
  5. Muslim situation should be looked upon as a problem of a minority, but as a national concern.

Observations

  1. The Commission is of the view that uniform approach towards socially and economically backward people needs to be evolved which should not be based on caste, class or religion so that social justice and equity can be guaranteed to all. Those educationally and economically backward are, by and large, are also socially backward.
  2. As education is crucial for development and enhancement of social and economic status, the focus has to be not only on extending the facilities for education to all equally, but also ensuring the quality of education. It is the key to development and the most important requirement for improving the socio-economic status of the backward sections among religious minorities. The literacy and educational levels among religious minorities vary considerably from one country to the another while educational level of Jains, Christians and Parsis is higher than that of Muslims and Buddhists is low and is next to SC/ST. census status regarding religious minorities reveals that the educational status of Muslim is relatively low. In terms of educational, social and economic status of religious minorities reveals that the educational status of Muslims is relatively low. The enrolment of children of religious Minorities at the primary level is better than that of SC/ST. However, the dropout rate of Muslims is higher at the secondary and middle level. The socially and economically backward Minorities need to be enlightened about the importance of acquiring knowledge and creating competitive spirit with a view to ensure merit in proper manner whereby reservation is not used to kill initiative and competitive spirit.
  3. The economic status of religious Minorities varies from group to group and area to area. While level of education and status has direct linkage with the employability and economic well-being of an individual, economic empowerment is also dependent on several factors. The religious Minorities are more urban-based than rural-based.
  4. Since the Minorities, specially, the Muslims are very much under-represented, and sometimes wholly unrepresented, in government employment, they should be regarded as backward in this respect within the meaning of that term as used in Article 16 (4) of the Constitution notably without qualifying the word “backward” read with the words “socially and educationally” and that 15% of posts in all cadres and grades under the Central Government and State Governments should be remarked for them as follows:
  • The break up within the recommended 15% shall be 10% for the Muslims commensurate with their 73% share of the former in the total minority population at the national level and the remaining 5% for the other minorities.
  • Minor adjustment inter se can be made within 15% earmarked seats. In the case of non-availability of Muslims to fill 10% earmarked seats, the remaining vacancies may be given to other minorities if their members are available over and above their share of 5%, but in no case shall any seat within the recommended 15% go to the majority community.
  1. The action recommended as above will have full sanction of Article 16(4) of the Constitution. Yet, should there be some insurmountable difficulty on implementing this recommendation, as an alternative since according to the Mandal Commission Report, the Minorities constitute 8.4% of the total OBC population, in the 27% OBC quota, an 8.4% sub-quota should be earmarked for the Minorities with an internal break-up of 6% for the Muslims commensurate with their 73% share in the total minority population at the national level and 2.4% for the other minorities with minor adjustments inter se in accordance with population of various Minorities in various States and UTs.

Suggestions

  1. The Commission is not going to suggest any amendment in the Constitution as it is fully convinced that none of its recommendations requires for its implementation any amendment of the Constitution and each of these can be fully implemented by legislative or administrative action.
  2. All Central and State Acts, Statutory Rules and Regulations must be suitably amended to implement those of the Commission’s recommendations which in the opinion of the Ministry of Law and Justice or any other concerned authority may require such amendments.
  3. Regarding welfare of Minorities:
  • Enactment of a detailed law to enforce the dictates of Article 30 of the Constitution.
  • Amendment of the National Commission for Backward classes Act, 1993.
  • Amendment of the Constitution (Schedule Castes) Order 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order 1951 as also of the Central and State lists of the SCs and STs.
  • Review of the laws and rules, processes and procedures, relating to selection and notification of OBCs at the Central and State levels.
  • Enactment of a law to clothe with statutory status and judicial enforceability the Prime Minister’s 15-point Programme for Minorities 1983 as modified in 2006.

Conclusion

Hereby, nothing remained to criticise upon the act of the Government as it is taking certain decisions with one-man army within its political fold that is quite ineffective is several sectors which are going to face in the few years. This present decision is very unfortunate that the BJP-Sena Government is conclusively going biased against a single community all over Maharashtra which is not only bound within education and employment but also hits lifestyle of this particular community. Moreover, when the HC has given a nod for reservation in education, then what is the hell with a political party to make an issue for the same under controversial moves? It can be depicted that the present scenario is going totally unfair and against the Muslims, whereby the previous government was keen on getting reservation instead. The present issue cannot be confronted with vote-bank factor because a legal framework is already present within our nation that provides scopes to minorities to flourish themselves within the light of education and thereby achieve a better employment to live in the society with dignity.