Monday, September 10, 2012

‘Falling Over Backwards: An essay on reservations and on judicial populism’ by Arun Shourie

The other way

"For thirty years, each concession, each relaxation of standards, the inclusion of each new caste in the reservations list has been decreed with just one thing in mind – the vote banks to whom 'the right signal' needs to be sent. The progressive judge can't be bothered, indeed he sees merit in this pandering to the newly risen. 'Sometimes it is obliquely suggested,' we are instructed in Vasanth Kumar, 'that expressive reservation is indulged in as a mere vote catching device. Perhaps so, perhaps not. One can only say 'out of evil cometh good' and quicker the redemption of the oppressed classes, so much the better for the nation…''

"And that is of a piece. Our political class just throws a concession at some group, it just throws funds at some problem or region, and proclaims itself to be the champion of the poor and neglected. In states such as Jammu and Kashmir, in the Northeast, Delhi has deluded itself into believing that it has 'done its duty' by pouring money into them. The money has ended up financing insurgents. But if you point that out, you are accused, 'He is anti-Kashmiri, he is anti-the people of the Northeast.' In regard to the Public Distribution System, the political class has made itself believe that it has done its duty to the poor because it has dispatched grain to the ration shops – even as the Planning Commission publishes reports that 30 to 100 per cent of the grain and sugar end up in the open market. Nor is that confined to the Public Distribution System…"

(p. 347, 'Falling Over Backwards: An essay against reservations and against judicial populism' by Arun Shourie – Harper)

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