President Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) G.M. Banatwalla has welcomed the Supreme Court nod to 27% reservation for Other Backward Castes (OBCs), but expressed his disappointment over the exclusion of the “creamy layer” from the purview of the quota and also over its restriction to the graduation level.
Congratulating the United Progressive Alliance Government and in particular the Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh, the IUML president in a statement on April 15 said, “The campaign for 27% OBC reservation in central institutions of higher learning has eventually secured the legal crown of victory. The launch of the campaign and the victory is an outstanding achievement of the UPA Government and an immense benefit to the backward people.”
At the same time the IUML leader expressed his disappointment on parts of the verdict when he said, “It is much disappointing that the Court has kept the so-called ‘creamy layer’ out of the purview of the quota and similarly the quota has been restricted to the graduation level. This is a setback to the campaign for reservation which is essentially an instrument for social equality. The so-called advanced or affluent among the backward lag much behind the forward sections of the society.”
Arguing that the extension of the quota to Muslims and other minorities is the demand of justice, he said, “Several Muslim sections are no doubt included among the OBCs. But, as pointed out by Justice Sachar Committee, 15 years after the Mandal Commission, these Muslim sections could not receive their fair share of OBC quota. This share is less than even 3%.
“Further, Justice Sachar Committee has confirmed that Muslims as a whole lag behind even the OBCs. Justice Misra Commission has recommended 15% quota for minorities with exclusive 10% sub-quota for Muslims and 5% for other minorities.”
“It is not a demand on the basis of ‘religion’ but a righteous claim on the basis of utter backwardness. If ‘caste’ can be used to identify a backward class, surely a community, religious or linguistic, can be taken to so identify a backward class. This is amply clear from the Constituent Assembly debates,” he argues.
Mr. Banatwalla argues for tabling of Justice Misra Commission Report in the current session of Parliament without any further delay.