Edn minister fears SC will strike down quota policy

SHILLONG, May 25: Education Minister Rakkam A. Sangma fears that the Supreme Court will strike down the state reservation policy, for it is in excess of 50 per cent even as he predicted that the politics being played out on the issue will burn everyone, including the Voice of the People Party (VPP).
Sangma told reporters on Thursday that Meghalaya is at great risk of the apex court striking down the state’s reservation policy.
Recalling the Supreme Court orders of 1992 directing the Kerala government that any reservation policy for recruitment beyond 50 per cent is not permissible, the minister said he is not speaking as a Garo but sharing his views on the matter as the education minister.
He further cited that an ordinance, passed by the Maharashtra government in 2014 giving reservation to certain tribes beyond 50 per cent, was struck down by the Supreme Court. Following that verdict, a circular notice was issued to all states, including Meghalaya, he said.
As Meghalaya enjoys 85 per cent reservation (40 per cent for Khasis-Jaintias, 40 per cent for Garos and 5 per cent for other ST communities), Sangma said the state government in March 2021 had replied to the Supreme Court notice justifying the 85% reservation.
Stating that the apex court is yet to take note of the reply and a hearing on the matter is pending, he said he is worried about the consequences.
“If the Supreme Court strikes down the reservation policy, we will be the losers. I appeal to the citizens and the leaders to understand the consequences of this drama,” he said, adding VPP chief Ardent Basaiawmoit should know the consequences being a senior leader.
Stating that people are playing with fire, he said this fire will burn everyone, including the VPP. This “drama and politics” will destroy the future of the students who are waiting for employment based on reservation, he said.
The minister said the Supreme Court is seriously observing the matter. He asked who will be responsible if the court takes the extreme step.
Earlier, he said that reservation is based on the two factors of backwardness and inadequate representation in public services under Article 16 (4) of the Constitution. He also said that there are two categories of leaders – one builds the house while the other destroys it.

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