Representation should be our ultimatum, not the re-erection of old reservation schemes: Prof G Mohan Gopal
The esteemed Prof. Mohan G Gopal, the former Vice –chancellor of National Law School of India University (NLSIU) and Bhopal National Judicial Academy Director talks with Adv. C Ahamed Fayiz about on going debates over EWS reservation.
Adv. C Ahamed Fayiz: Recently you have commented that the EWS verdict can be considered ADM Jabalpur moment. How the EWS judgement relates to a critical verdict that was released during the emergency period of India. ?
Prof. G Mohan Gopal: ADM Jabalpur verdict has violated constitutional values. The Supreme Court has recently cited the ADM Jabalpur judgment as erroneous. The verdict had libelled the reputation of the entire judicial system of India. Thus I think the Supreme Court again would come up with an apology statement regarding the latest EWS verdict. Furthermore, the Chief Justice of India has confirmed EWS judgement will create inequalities in the society and challenges the social fabric, the prime pillar of the constitution. In contrast, the other three judges of the same bench totally rejected the argument. The politicians should consider the chief justice’s opinion about this matter and they need to come forward to confront this upheaval against the constitution.
Fayiz: What would be its repercussions with regard to the reservation system in India in general and the backward classes of society in particular?
Mohan Gopal: The impact of EWS judgement can never be constricted to a meagre reservation. Reservation is a fair tool to meet the end, a meaningful representation of communities. In future, if we are getting more advanced tools and instruments we would give up and execute the latest mode of operations and instruments. Hence, we must aim to get a better representation so as perform an active engagement in democracy. Suppose, In the coming days if the “upper caste communities” lose their representation in parliament, the same idea, i.e. representation, will help them to come forward into the “mainstream” section of society.
We know that till now the reservation never acted as a threat to the foundational principle – the representation of communities. But this amendment would act as a fatal blow to the constitution.
Actually, we are challenging the verdict because of its unconstitutional elements. Two of five judges warned it by stating it as entirely against the constitution and would destroy equality. While arguing in the Supreme Court, Mahesh Jetmelani emphasized the lower middle class as EWS; we need to agitate tooth and nail against these arguments.
Fayiz: Many political leaders and intellectuals even from backward communities have expressed that the communities that were the victims of criticism due to getting reservation will no longer be criticized on account of the reservation after this judgement . Can you sense any positive thing regarding this judgement?
Mohan Gopal: In fact, there is massive propaganda behind all these. Actually, the accusation about the socially – educationally backward reservation was its caste orientation. In contrast, I would say EWS promotes caste reservation. In reality, EWS is exclusively designed for Savarna; thus this is the exact caste reservation.
Socially and educationally backward communities include of the OBC, Vysya, Sudra, Transgender and many alike. This term can broadly define to the various communities that are constantly stigmatized and seemed vulnerable in society. So we should consider the reservation as a way to enhance the representation of backward communities. I would like to construe the reservation like a dagger. It can be used to kill and save one’s life. Likewise, here the reservation can be used to kill the constitution and to save the values of the constitution. We need to demand that the reservation for the sake of representation.
The history tells a bunch of records which provide a long series of reservation opportunities like Kendriya Vidyalaya reservation, sportsmen reservation, and Person with Disability (PwD) reservation that has been enjoyed by the Savarna communities. Theoretically, the Savarna communities have no issues with the reservation.
From Pre-independence time onwards, they have been enjoying the privilege of reservation in various ways. Actually, their claim can be summarized as “We- the Avarna community – don’t have merit by birth, but they (Savarna) own that merit “. It is a clear case of caste prejudice. At the same time, Dr B. R Ambedkar argued for sustaining the reservation for the mere sake of representation; also demanded to dismiss all other reservation practices.
Till now, almost 72 years, an Ezhava Supreme Court judge has not come into power. We fight for democracy and for a better future. They are trying to return us to the system of chathurvarnnya. EWS is caste reservation. We should correct our language so as to compete the sweet- coated arguments.
Fayiz: In response to the verdict, many thinkers observed that reservation should be implemented in the appointments of the Supreme Court to enhance proper understanding on reservation among Supreme Court judges. What is your take on that argument?
Mohan Gopal: In America, they used to have nine judges in their judicial system. For a long time, in which there were no persons from the White Anglo-Saxson protestant group, the majority community. Can you imagine a court in India without an upper caste? On the contrary, Indian courts are packed with upper-caste men. Representation is a great matter across the globe. Maybe in some cases and even spaces, the reservation may not be needed to attain the representation.
The Economically Weaker section is said to be formed on the basis of article 46. But Article 46 states that the states shall take care of the interest of socially and educationally backward sections, especially scheduled caste and scheduled tribe.
Within a short span of time, the law has been implemented fast in the country whereas all the other policies and measures would take a long haul to implement. Recently, we have seen a few datas which reemphasize the horrid account of the EWS application. One Backward section fellow having almost 300 in rank couldn’t get admission in polytechnic; while by taking advantage of EWS the forward class having almost above 7000 ranks got admission. Actually, they are trying to reinstate the former rule of oligarchy. We need to fight this cancer tooth and nail. Also, we are obliged to take an oath that we will form an alliance directly or indirectly in parliament in order to tackle this EWS implementation. Thus, I emphasize the need of relocating the debates to a broader frame that the representation of every community should be the ultimatum, in lieu of coming to blows to re-erect the old schemes of reservation.