While welcoming the decision to ensure 10 per cent reservation in jobs to economically backward sections in the general category, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) on Friday expressed doubts over its proper implementation, saying there was a “political motive”.
“We welcome it. However, I must say the cut-off of Rs 8 lakh per year is pretty high,” SDF spokesman and Sikkim’s sole Lok Sabha member P.D. Rai told IANS, reacting to the Rajya Sabha clearing the legislation.
He said the certification process will also be “highly problematic”.
“The reservation will be very dynamic in the sense that people will be in and out of the cut-off. Now, consider a case where a person has a job which is within the cut-off, but then he lands another job which is above the threshold. How will the authorities come to know of it?”
“Do we keep a monitor? Who will give the certificates?” he asked.
Rai, a passout from IIT Kanpur and IIM Ahmedabad, said he was not certain whether the latest reservation decision would withstand judicial scrutiny.
He referred to former Chief Justice of India A.M. Ahmadi, who has dubbed the move as “directly in conflict” with the Supreme Court’s judgement capping caste-based reservation at 50 per cent.
“I’m not a lawyer. But I find Justice Ahmadi (who was part of the 1992 bench that put the cap on caste-based reservation) has said that the decision is against the grain of the Supreme Court judgement. Also, legal luminaries have spoken out against it. So I am not sure if it would stand judicial scrutiny,” Rai said.
According to Rai, after losing Assembly polls in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi might be of the opinion that the reservation decision will be his trump card to win the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“He is entitled to his thoughts, facts can be otherwise,” he said.
Rai also described as “secretive” the way the Modi government went about the legislation.
“Another aspect is the great secrecy with which this was brought up, the secretive way in which it was passed by the Union Cabinet. The opposition was not given adequate time to debate the Bill or get their act together in terms of preparing for the debate.
“All these developments taken together are indicative of a political motive behind the decision,” he added.
In this context, Rai pointed out that the P.K. Chamling government in Sikkim has done much in ensuring an equitable distribution of resources.
“We are quite happy that in Sikkim we have done so much by way of social justice. Everyone has got access some way or the other not only to resources, but also on priority basis,” he said.