Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi once again fired salvos against the Modi government for decisions taken not by the government but the Supreme Court on a SC-ST reservation case, alleging that BJP and its ideological parent RSS want to abolish reservation. Gandhi was reacting to Friday's judgment by the apex court that held 'reservation in promotions is not a fundamental right' and it can't order a state government to provide the same for people belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in government jobs.
Speaking to reporters at Parliament, Rahul Gandhi said, "BJP and RSS have an ideology that is against reservations and they somehow want to remove the concept from India's Constitution. They don't want SC-ST community to progress. Today they have said that reservation is not compulsory; part of BJP's strategy to abolish reservation." He noted that although it was a Supreme Court judgement, the BJP-run Uttarakhand government had argued against quota system.
"We will never allow RSS-BJP plan to scrap reservation system," Rahul asserted, adding that attempts are made by the Modi government to weaken democratic institutions like judiciary and Parliament. He went on to say that the reservation system is a thorn for BJP-RSS and so they act to abolish it. Gandhi pledged not to allow this to happen.
The case dates back to 2012 when then Congress-run Uttarakhand state had decided to fill vacancies without providing any reservation to SC/ST candidates. A challenge made to this decision saw the High Court set aside the 2012 proceedings in April 2019. In a review, the Court directed the State Government to collect quantifiable data regarding the inadequacy of the representation of SC/ST candidates in state jobs. The High Court opined that this data would enable the State Government to take a considered decision on providing or not providing reservation.
A challenge to his verdict, and other High Court verdicts touching upon similar issues, were disposed of by the Supreme Court together on Friday. A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta held, "There is no doubt that the State Government is not bound to make reservations. There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions. No mandamus can be issued by the Court directing the State Government to provide reservations."
Congress Party on Monday held its position in Parliament that they are not satisfied with this verdict. Attacking the BJP, it said that although the decision is made by the apex court, the argument against reservation was led by Trivendra Singh Rawat's BJP government of Uttarakhand. Through this, Congress and its allies have attempted to paint BJP as "anti-Dalit" and "anti-reservation".