Can merit be compromised?

The demand for social justice in all and sundry institutions may be justified. But, can ‘merit’ be overlooked to implement reservations is a disturbing question. The latest demand of the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s demand for consideration of reservations even in the appointment of judges indeed appears to many as the most dangerous thing to do. Indian judiciary is presumed as one of the best, simply because merit is the only consideration for the appointment of judges. Maybe the visionaries who wrote the Constitution have exempted certain appointments from the purview of reservations, like that of judicial officers. This has done under Articles  124, 217 and 224 of the Constitution, which makes it abundantly clear that no reservations be done under either caste or class. And, how come the learned barrister, Owaisi who quite often refers to Samvidhan (Constitution), is ignorant of it till Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal has to educate him? Shouldn’t he look into him first before destroying the most ‘balanced’ and ‘credible’ institutions like the judiciary, which happens to be the only hope left among Indian democratic institutions? Owaisi  may even demand reservations of the assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies wherever the Muslims are predominant! But the learned barrister, whose survival or existence is much dependent on  hoodwinking of the gullible community members, clarify what was his response to the notice of the Election Commission, a constitutional body, of having the religious name in his party’s name. Does he ignorant of that or deliberately wishes to be mischievous for he quite often give sermons of ‘secularism’ while being hardcore communal?
Why Owaisi’s party and even the Indian Union Muslim League need to do a lot of explanation if the same Samvidhan, which they claim as the ‘custodians’ of their communities, ‘derecognise’ their parties. This may or may not happen as it depends much on the same ‘judiciary’ which,  of late, appears to be overstepping. The best example is Manipur, wherein the Supreme Court has directed the ko High Court to restrain or withdraw its earlier stay order on the state government’s ordinance of providing reservations to the Meities. That ignited the present ethnic violence in the state. And the same apex court now warns the state and Centre, if they failed to contain the violence since May, with the latest gory gang rape video which gone viral, also appears absurd to many law-abiding citizens. How can the apex court wish to fully exonerate itself from the violence? We wish to put our neck out to say that had the Supreme Court upheld its state High Court stay on the reservations ordinance or legislation to Meiteis, wouldn’t have seen the violence today in that state.
Against that backdrop, one opts to be pessimistic over what if Owaisi and his ilk move the apex court demanding it to direct the Centre to implement reservations even in the appointment of judicial officers, who knows what is in store? In this context, it may be worth recalling an interesting observation made by the late Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram. At a news conference he vowed to make his community members more competent to challenge the forward community members in all fields, instead of them depending on reservations. The event went to the extent of boasting that the days are not far when there will be more judges in the Supreme Court from his community than the upper castes. It is no denying the fact that the past Congress governments at the Centre might have used the weaker sections – scheduled castes and scheduled tribes – as vote banks for its political survival as it exploited the minority Muslims too. This allegation was even made against the Congress for misusing his community members as vote banks by Owaisi.
That being the ground reality, the Narendra Modi government, too should think some out-of box-ideas.  For exampe, former AP Chief Minister late Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy, perhaps did try such an experiment.  He was instrumental in starting training centers for the SC and ST, besides minority Muslims, to prepare competitive examinations. He was, perhaps, the only Chief Minister, who had such vision, to help the weaker sections and minorities by getting trained  to improve their knowledge, instead of depending on reservations. Well, the Law Minister might have informed the Lok Sabha on Friday that of the 604 judges appointed since 2018 to various High Courts, 454 belong to the general category, but 20 per cent which, referring to by Owaisi, should feel happy that the weaker sections could compete in merit test and got qualified.
Instead, he should have proposed for the Centre and state governments to put more effort to make the weaker section of people more competent to crack such merit tests and improve the percentage to much higher. Who knows, if such an effort is made, aspirants from these communities crack these competitive exams which don’t have reservations, crack them and become proud citizens, thus removing the ‘reservations tag’ for anyone to point out.
In this context, one also wishes to remind, how the BSP’s social engineering in the past helped it storm to power in the biggest Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Shouldn’t leaders like Owaisi too make his party more secular by allocating tickets to Hindus and  ensuring his community members votes for their success, which alone help him establish as a true ‘Secular’ by letter and spirit, and certainly not through the demands like reservations in critical constitutional bodies. He should also not be continuously ignorant of the fact that it was none other than a Dalit, who wrote the Constitution, maybe with the assistance of others, who said reservations should not exist beyond 15 years from the day India attained power and established its government. Not to forget, another similar so-called legal luminary, a Minister for Human Resources, indeed come up with similar reservation proposal in the Indian Institute of Technologies (IIT) in the past. Thank God his party’s government was thrown out of power. Or else, what would have happened if such crazy and unacceptable proposals were executed amending the Constitution?