Articles on Mandal II Judgment

Here are some more articles which appeared in recent days on the Judgment. I add my summary/comments briefly for record.

1. Harsh Sethi, Editor, Seminar in DNA: Regrets that policy debate and public discourse is restricted to quotas alone.

2. P.P.Rao, in Tribune: Drawing from his submission to the Bench during the hearing, Rao argues that the creamy layer criteria for OBCs in education must include graduation. Argues that occupation/income route to identify SEBC is better than using caste as the starting point.

3. Rajinder Sachar in Tribune: questions the Government’s failure to implement the impugned 2006 Act, (relating to SC/ST) when only the OBC part of it was stayed last year. Sachar seems to forget that quota for SC/ST is already under the Executive orders, and this Act only seeks to replace them.

4.Rajeev Dhavan in Mail Today: He, like Rao, draws from his submissions before the Bench as the petitioner’s counsel. Refers to lack of Parliament debate, without mentioning the fact that J.Pasayat, who is otherwise sympathetic to the anti-quota arguments, dealt with this issue at length, only to reject the argument that lack of debate in Parliament could be a ground to set aside an amendment or Act. Similarly, his vote-bank politics allegation has also been answered by the Chief Justice. Argues for creamy layer test for SC/ST. He also shares the mistaken view that Majority Judges have made the OBC graduates ineligible for quota.

5.T.T.Ram Mohan in Economic Times: He cautions: “If the ‘creamy layer’ is defined very rigorously, it may be difficult to fill the quota of 27%. The unfilled seats would go the general category. As there is to be an expansion of capacity, quotas for SEBCs would then have the perverse effect of giving more seats to the general category.”

6. Business Standard interview with Sharad Yadav.

7. T.C.A.Srinivasa-Raghavan in BS:On the way reservation works out. The link to the NBER research paper he refers to is here

8. EPW edit: (Thanks to Mr.Ravi Srinivas for suggesting)Questions the logic of applying creamy layer formula in higher education.

9. Sunil Jain in Business Standard also questions the logic of applying creamy layer principle in higher educational institutions, though he himself is against quota.

10. HRD Minister Arjun Singh’s interview to Outlook, and Outlook’s coverage of the issue.

11. Suhas Palshikar in Indian Express:The best analysis I have come across,making the point which I have suggested earlier that Congress or Arjun Singh cannot be accused of playing vote bank politics. Since all parties backed the quota policy, no political party could claim exclusive credit at the hustings. The author suggests that mobilisational space in OBC politics has shrunk, and no single party can be a clear winner because of the quota in educational institutions.
Suhas has also written in EPW: The Supreme Court judgment does not mean the end of the debate on reservations. A long-standing challenge for those who support affirmative action is to end the phenomenon of quotas being an instrument of political mobilisation rather than a mechanism to ensure social justice. The main issues that need addressing are identification of Other Backward Classes, the criteria for deciding the creamy layer and the fallout of sub-classification of the intended beneficiaries. None of these issues can be seen as having been permanently decided by the Mandal Commission or the courts nor can they be seen as not changing over time.
12. Jayanthi Natarajan on why affirmative action is not vote-bank oriented. Article in Asian Age
13.Jaithirth Rao on castes being a reality: I was reminded of the respondents’ argument that casteless society cannot be a goal of the Constitution – a contention which the Bench rejected.
14. Pratap Bhanu Mehta in Outlook

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