The movement to disrupt rail services by the Jat community in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the adjoining areas of Delhi, in the beginning of this month was put to an end in UP after 17 days of Allahabad High Court’s order, but the Jat leaders of Haryana vacated the rail track near 21 days after the state government braced up for making a commission on the backward class. During the agitation, more than dozens of trains were cancelled and lakh of commuters had to face huge inconvenience. The railways incurred loss of crores of rupees. The Jat leaders of Haryana succeeded to tilt the government to their favour, which clearly indicate that they ignored the directions of the Punjab-Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court.

Going by threatening of the Jat leaders to stop the supply of water, milk, vegetables etc to the national capital, Delhi Jal Board and Indian Oil moved the Apex Court and the Supreme Court did not only take strong exception to the backing of the Chief Ministers of Haryana and UP to the Jat agitation, but also asked them to ensure that Delhi gets uninterrupted supply of essential items. The Punjab and Haryana High Court issued orders to the state governments to get the rail track vacated, but it was ignored. It is worth mentioning that the rail lines of UP were cleared when the Allahabad High Court took strong posture towards the Jat agitators.    

It is surprising that the Jat agitators vexed the rail commuters for a month, but the UP and Haryana governments denied to take any concrete step and rather they supported their demands for reservation. It is beyond understanding that why did the executives tolerate the methodology of the Jat agitation which was accorded wrong by the judiciary? Will the SC have to exhort the Centre and state governments for carrying out their responsibilities regarding such issues which are prima facie unjust? Should the executive take resort to judiciary for each complex social issue? Now it is clear that neither is the ruling party in the Centre nor is the ruling dispensation in states ready to protest against the demands of the reservation. In fact they do not want to anger any community, nevertheless they are loud for unjust demand in a wrong way.   

This is not the first time when judiciary has exhorted the Centre and state governments for carrying their responsibilities. Such sorts of matter keep coming time and again and the judiciary is compelled to interfere in the jurisdiction of executive. Now it has been a routine phenomenon that the ruling dispensation waits for the judiciary intervention in order to remove mismanagement in its system. Several times there has been a war of words between the judiciary and the executive. If the government does not find conducive verdict, it pins blame on the judiciary for overstepping its boundary. Despite this, the perception of common people is getting stronger that the government swings into action after the judiciary’s interference. This is not good for executive nor for democracy but the problem lies with the government which is not ready to get its statutory and moral responsibilities in action. They often take initiative to solve the problem when people in distress knock the doors of the court.

In fact when political party attaches importance to its parochial interests, the government leading such parties fails to live up the expectations of aam adami. Such government becomes helpless when a big and influential section of society wages agitation. At present, there is vehement demand for reservation in different parts of the country. Sometimes, it seems that such community deprived of reservation has assumed that they will be in better position only after having reservation in government jobs. Nobody seems ready to understand that provision of reservation benefit to capable people means ignoring talents and efficient ones as well as abetting laxity. It is the need of hour that there should be a review of the present contour of reservation, but no political party is ready to change it owing to the vote bank politics.   

As the gamut of reservation is continuously increasing, many communities deprived of this advantage feel cheated. As the situation is getting worse, many communities are being given benefit of reservation in lieu of consolidating vote bank. There is no surprise that the Centre will surrender before the Jat leaders. If Jats are given reservation in government jobs, it is certain that other communities will also demand for reservation. It is likely that some communities from other backward classes may start demanding for their inclusion into Scheduled Castes. Many communities are already making such demands.

However, leaders of the country have understood it that the present system of reservation has become a political tool to solidify vote bank rather than uplift the downtrodden, but they are not ready to speak on the shortcomings of reservation system. No one can even imagine that there will ever be a fair discussion on the present system of reservation in Parliament. Going by the attitude of politicians, it is expected that there can be a logical system of reservation only with the interference of judiciary. It will be better that complete benches of High Court should draft reservation afresh. Earlier, they have issued important directions in this regard. Be it approval of reservation for OBC or 50 percent cap on reservation, or making creamy layer from backward classes—all these have been done by the high court. The High Court should come forward to redefine reservation before the demand for quota could vex the country and social dichotomy gets widened, which is only a ray of hope in the present situation.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on March 27, 2010 translated by the English Editorial)