Tuesday, April 23, 2024

10 % quota: Tehseen Poonawala is doing what Congress couldn’t do

It’s the month of petitions to ensure the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is stopped in its track before the 2019 General Elections unfold from April 11 onwards.

Citizenship Bill 2016, Ayodhya and Rafale come uppermost to mind but The Hindu, with a screaming lead story on front page today (March 12, 2019) is making sure that the issue of 10 per cent reservation for general category announced by the Modi government is kept firmly in public eye.

The lead story is on the petitions against the 10 per cent quota for general category which had its initial hearing in Supreme Court on Monday and is now posted for the next round on March 28.

Even though the Supreme Court on Monday REFUSED to grant a stay on the implementation of the Constitutional (The 103rd Amendment) Act, the lead headline in The Hindu : “SC may send plea challenging quota bill to Constitution Bench”is misleading readers.  No such suggestion or hint came from SC on Monday. A typical case of “fake news” in which English mainstream media abounds.

The bill which sought 10 per cent reservation for general category (and not reserved category) in jobs and admissions in schools is now a Constitutional Act but the petition, “mainly one filed by activist Tehseen Poonawala” as per The Hindu—the newspaper could have mentioned that Tehseen is married to Robert Vadra’s sister Monica—has challenged it primarily on the following grounds:

  1. Social backwardness ought to be a main criteria and not just an economic one;
  2. 50 per cent quota limit was part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution and must not be tampered with;
  3. The high criteria of Rs 8 lakhs implies that elite, and not poor, would benefit;

For one, the argument with which NDA pushed the bill “as the unequals can’t be treated equally; the equals can’t be treated unequally” is irrefutable. Poor don’t exist just in SC/ST and OBC but millions in general category too are assailed by poverty;

Two, the 50 per cent quota limit is for socially backward classes—this 10 per cent reservation quota is outside that ambit; i.e. it’s of a section which is in general category (the other half, per se);

Three, Rs 8 lakhs upper limit is not elite given the background of the income criteria adopted by UPA itself from time to time. In 1993, the limit was Rs 1 lakh; in 2004, it became Rs 2.5 lakhs; Rs 4.5 lakhs in 2008; and Rs 6 lakhs in 2013 (an increase of 1.5-2 lakhs in each successive hikes). Incidentally, where were you Tehseen Poonawala when incomes were being increased in 10 years before the Modi government came to power?

 The pattern we have witnessed in the last five years is how politicians-lawyers-media work in unison to ensure that any move which could help boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP’s image is jettisoned. This one appears no different for the petition filed by Poonawala is a flimsy one.

The irony, Mr Poonawala is that the party you ostensibly support, Indian National Congress (INC), itself overwhelmingly supported the 10 per cent reservation quota in the Parliament (the verdict was 323-3 in favour)!!! What the Congress can’t do publicly—for it would outrage the masses—it does through its forward soldiers by stealth.

(More on 10 per cent quota could be accessed through my previous report: https://www.newsbred.com/10-cent-quota-all-you-needed-know-and-your-newspaper-won’t-tell )


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