DMK's plea on reservation: HC asks govt to respond

The Madras High Court today directed the Union government to respond within two weeks on a plea filed by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam against the Centre's recent move to provide 10 per cent reservation to economically backward people in forward castes. When the petition came up for hearing, the court said the Union government should file its response within two weeks. The DMK on Friday approached the Madras High Court, seeking to nullify the constitutional amendment  providing ten per cent reservation to ‘economically weaker’ upper castes.

The petition was filed by the party’s Organising Secretary RS Bharathi. It said, "The concept of reservation, being an exception to the equality clause, is only justified when it is used for the purpose of upliftment of communities which have suffered discrimination and oppression like the OBC, SCs and STs. Economic criteria alone cannot be the basis of reservation since reservation is not a poverty alleviation scheme."

According to the plea, "Naturally [owing to caste-based discrimination]…over the centuries, people belonging to these ‘lower castes’ were segregated from the academic circles, were not permitted to be employed where ‘higher’ castes worked and as a result, their entire families rotted in poverty and exclusion, while the ‘upper’ castes educated and enriched themselves.

The effect of this systemic discrimination was not just economic. It was social and psychological as well. Even if one person from the ‘lower’ caste became rich, he was not permitted to enter the social circles of the ‘upper’ castes. If an ‘upper’ caste member came into contact with a ‘lower’ caste person, he had to undergo a ‘purification’ ritual. In some cases, the ‘lower’ caste person was beaten to death for ‘daring’ to touch the ‘upper’ caste person or even his property…

…a parallel nation of ‘untouchables’ was created. All the jobs and seats in educational institutions were made the sole preserve or ‘birth right’ of the ‘upper’ castes…"