IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs- 3rd September, 2015
Reservation : boon or bane?
- India, being a developing Democracy, is currently undergoing many challenges and the Caste based Reservation System is one of them.
- The biggest double edged paradox is whether the implementation of the Reservation System has really helped downtrodden.
- The Current Scenario characterized by Patel or Patidars' Agitation in Gujarat clearly depicts the conundrum of the term "Reservation" itself.
- This implies that Indian Democracy has a serious problem of the demarcation of the yardsticks of Backwardness.
- Reservation in Indian law is quota based affirmative action governed by the constitutional laws, statutory laws and local rules and regulations.
- ST, SC and OBCs are the primary beneficiaries of Reservation System under the constitution with the objective of addressing social discrimination, economic exploitation, political and educational backwardness.
Background of Reservation System in India:
- Caste System: Early caste based divisions such as Brahman, Kshatriyas, Vaishya and Shudra divided the people into privileged and deprived classes giving rise to discrimination and reservation.
- Efforts of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule: Before independence there was constant demand to hold proportionate reservation for Backward Classes (BC) to avail free and compulsory education along with government jobs.
- Ramsay McDonald's Communal Award: In 1933, the Britain Prime Minister Ramsay Mc Donald announced "Communal Award" according to which Separate Electorate was given to the Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo Indian, Europeans and Dalits.
- Poona Pact: Gandhiji fasted to protest the divisive award. But Dr. BR Ambedkar supported the award for the cause of Dalits for a Separate Electorate. Eventually in 1932, they reached at a consensus called "Poona Pact" to have a Single Hindu Electorate with seats reserved for the Dalits.
- First Backward Classes Commission 1955 or Kaka Kalelkar Commission:
It was established to determine socially and educationally backward classes. Its recommendations were such as treating all women as backward class, special economic measures for the upliftment of OBCs, 70% reservation of seats for backward classes in technical or professional courses.
- Mandal Commission : The Mandal Commission ,established under the chairmanship of B.P Mandal in 1978 by the Moraraji Government, to identify socially and educationally backward classes to consider the questions of quotas and reservations to redress Caste discrimination. It adopted eleven indicators Social, Economic and Educational indicators to determine backwardness.
- Art 16 of the Indian Constitution provides for Equality of opportunity in respect of Employment or Appointment to any post under the State.
- Art 15(4) of the Indian Constitution empowers the government to make Special Provisions for the advancement of Backward Classes.
- Art 17 restricts the practice of Untouchability in any form.
- Art 15(5): The 93rd Constitutional Amendment allows the government to make special provisions for SC and STs or backward classes for admissions into private schools, aided or unaided by the government.
- Art 40 allows for one third reservation of seats in Panchayats for SC or STs.
Patel or Patidars' Agitation
- The Agitation of Patel or Patidars' agitation is primarily an anti reservation agitation. It is demanding to replace the caste based reservation with economy (income) based reservation.
- Patel constitutes 15% of population of Gujarat, most of who are economically and politically dominant upper caste.
Factors that agitates the agitation:
- Lacuna in reservation policy of the government: The Present Reservation Policy of India, which was initiated for the upliftment of ST and SCs (for 10 years) has failed to assimilate the tribes or lowest caste within the mainstream economy and society.
- Leakage in Opportunity and reservation: The reservation system has failed to engage the real beneficiaries within its ambit.
- Caste based Reservation: In India, Caste based reservation has nothing to any conformity with the economic status or meritocracy.
- Stagnated and exclusive (Not inclusive) economic growth: Due to insufficiency of economic growth, people are not inclusively included in the development process for which arises unemployment problems, inadequate educational facilities etc leading to youth unrest.
- Agrarian crisis: Patels were the pioneer of white revolution in Gujarat. Now they re getting threatened due to crop failure, population pressure on small land holdings, low yields etc. Social and economic insecurity are the basic cause that drives the Patels to resort to agitation.
- The government should come forward to adopt all the measures that incorporate all the backward classes on the basis of their economic background without hurting the interest of the general category.
- As Reservation can't be withdrawn completely in a developing nation like India where Neo liberalism and its challenges has its root in Indian society and economy.
The needs of the hour is :
- Incorporation of Income based reservation approach
- Exclusion of Creamy layer from OBC category of Reservation.
- Inclusive Economic Growth(Infrastructure development etc)
- Strengthen Panchayatiraj Administration with Popular Participation
- Inclusive agrarian development
- Do you think the reservation policy of India has conformity with Indian democracy? Critically discuss.
- Critically discuss the factors that gave rise to anti reservation movement in the context of Mandal Commission.
- Reservation is an affirmative action taken by the Government to cater to the needs of the backward classes. Critically Comment.
Death penalty and Terrorism
- Law commission of India has made a remarkable move by recommending abolition of death penalty statement. This recommendation forms the base for scrapping of death penalty for all cases except terrorism and acts which can inflict the war against the state.
- Law commission has clearly indicated the difference which rose due to the principle of rarest of rare case laid during Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980), which made death penalty arbitrary and also being judge-centric.
- The principle of rarest of rare case is misguiding and in past has resulted in numerous instances where the principle has failed badly owing to its nature of incompetency in giving rationale judgment.
How this move will affect security of India?
- The historic move of abolishing the death penalty except for terror related offences will strengthen the notional security of India.
- Death penalty for terror related offences and acts of inflicting war against the state will help in undermining the terrorist activities and will keep a check on arbitrary activities against the state.
- The suggested move by Law Commission of India for abolishing the death penalty does not clearly mark the distinction between terror related cases and the other cases.
- Law commission of India also admits that there is no penological justification for adopting the unfair hierarchy of crime and justice.
- In most of the cases of death penalty the convicts are from the marginalized poor families or minorities. As high as 93.5% of death rows in case of terror related activities are awarded to Dalits or to those from minorities.
- Law is needed to safeguard the interest of the people, and killing people in the name of law is not justified.
- Death penalty is impractical; India needs to end crime and not the criminals.
- The concept of death penalty should be rejected as it is unjust, arbitrary and unequal.
- Death penalty should be abolished being unjust and moreover an eye for an eye makes whole world blind.
- Law commission has made a positive move and now ball is in parliament’s court. They should come up with a comprehensive road map for fair and unprejudiced delivery of justice, which is not arbitrary or unequal.
India retains death penalty or capital punishment for heinous crimes which includes being a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit a capital offence, waging of war against Government of India, murder, abetting an act of sati, rape if it results in victim’s death etc.
- Critically comment on the recent move made by the Law Commission of India to abolish death penalty statement.
- Comment on the suggestion made by Law commission in light of the exceptions and distinction made in awarding death sentence.
- Can awarding death penalty act as deterrence to terrorism? Justify. Give your arguments.
- How many or which countries have abolished death sentences across the globe? How are the developed countries dealing with this issue?