Question of Merit in Reservations

Question of Merit in Reservations


Those who find solace in believing that the competitiveness of Indian
Industry would suffer a set back if SC / ST / OBC are given Reservation in
"Private" Industry, may kindly read the following reports.

"MERIT MY FOOT" by V.T.Rajshekhar p. 31 says:

Read what Justice Krishna Iyer of the Supreme Court says in the ABSK Sangh
case (1981)
"Trite arguments about efficiency are a trifle phoney. ... We are not
impressed with the misfortune about the governmental personnel being manned
by morons, merely because a sprinkling of harijans and Girijans happened to
find their way into the service. The malady of modern India lies elsewhere,
and the merit monger are greater risks in many respects than the native
tribals, and slightly better off lower caste. .. The fundamental question
arises, as to what's 'merit' and 'suitability'? Elitists, whose sympathies
with the masses have dried up, are from standards of Indian people, least
suitable to run the government and least meritorious to handle the state
business. ... A sensitized heart and vibrant head tuned to the tears of the
people, will speedily quicken the developmental needs of the country...
Sincere dedication and intellectual integrity - these are some of the
components of merit and suitability- not a degree from Oxford or Cambridge,
Harvard or Simian. Unfortunately, the very orientation of our selection
process is distorted and those like the candidates from Scheduled Castes
whom from their birth, have a traumatic understanding of the conditions of
agrestic India, have in one sense more capability than those who lived
under affluent circumstances and are callous to the human lot of the
sorrowing masses." ibid. p. 33

Justice Chinnappa Reddy of the Supreme Court says, (The Myth of Merit and
Efficiency- Dalit Voice January 16, 1987)
"There is no statistical basis or expert evidence to support the assumption
that efficiency will be impaired if reservation is continued or if
reservation exceeds a certain percentage or reservation is extended to
promotional posts." ibid. p.37

Justice Chinnappa Reddy of Supreme Court said (in the Railways case 1881)
"Therefore, we see that when the posts ... are reserved ... to members of
Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other socially and economically
Backward Classes it is not a concession or privilege extended to them, it
is in the recognition of their undoubted fundamental right to equality of
opportunity and ...and to secure to all its citizens, justice, social,
economic and political and equality of status and opportunity ... to
ensure their participation on an equal basis in the administration of the
country ... Every lawful method is permissible to secure the due
representation of SCs and STs in the public services."

For those who feel that Private Educational Institutes are also admitting
the students on "merit", the following report may be illuminating.

Indian Express Page 1 Anchor Report
July 2, 2004

Merit is subjective, check the list


MERIT should be the criteria for admissions, said a Supreme Court order in
September 2003. So, are private medical and dental colleges in Maharashtra
following the SC directive?
That's open to interpretation.

To begin with, this year the merit list for an entrance test conducted by
an association representing unaided private medical and dental colleges is
totally at odds with a similar list based on an entrance test organised by
the Maharashtra Government.

The same students appeared for both entrance exams, but the results are
very different. Students who topped the merit list of the entrance test
organised by private colleges did not fare well in the entrance test
conducted by the government This despite the fact that both exams had the
same format and literally an identical
syllabus. For instance, Ashish Pokharkar who stood first in the
Private colleges' entrance test, was placed 35th in the government one. The
second topper, Suraj Gandhi, stood 413th in the government test. Barring
Rita Tapadia, who, stood fourth in the private colleges' test and 14th in
the government one, most of the top rankers in the private college list
fell way behind in the government test.
What was the reason? "Even one mark makes a difference in competitive
examinations. But you cannot justify this while talking about the tests
conducted by private colleges," said former pro-vice chancellor of Mumbai
University Naresh Chandra.

With regard to carrying out merit-based admissions, private colleges do not
enjoy much credibility. However, the managements of these colleges insist
that their merit list was not manipulated.

"The criteria was different for government and private tests. That can be
the reason for the difference. I cannot comment further till I tally both
the merit lists," said Sagar Meghe, who runs Jawaharlal Nehru Medical
College in Wardha near Nagpur.

The directorate of medical education has passed the buck.
"If anyone has complaints, he should approach the Committee under Justice
Cazi appointed by the High Court to monitor the admission process. It is an
appropriate forum to seek redres-sal," said director for medical education
W B Tayade.

"So far, I have not received any complaints," Justice (retd) A A Cazi said
when this paper contacted him. He said the procedure was smooth this year.
However, the committee would definitely look into the cases if it receives
complaints, he said.

Kamal Kishore Kadam, chairman of the Association representing private
colleges, said he would be able to comment only after going through the
merit list of both the tests. "The tests were conducted in a different
manner than the government test. It is possible that the students who
scored well in our CET could not score much in the government-held test,"
he said.

For those who are unaware of the dignitaries in Maharashtra, let it be
known that both Sagar Meghe (BJP) and Kamal Kishore Kadam (Congress) are
Education tycoons and the latter is in the list of runners for Chief
Ministership after the Elections, now in progress.

Some thoughts on "Women's Reservation Bill" would follow in next week.

Dr. K. Jamanadas October 9, 2004


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