Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Quota system in the LokPal Bill

Thanks to the relentless tweeting of @realitycheckind, I got to know that the Lok Pal Bill that was recently passed in the Parliament has a Quota System of its own.
According to the Bill (,

  • The Lokpal will consist of a Chairperson and a maximum of eight Members, of which fifty percent shall be judicial members.
  • Fifty per cent of members of Lokpal shall be from amongst SC/ST/OBCs, Minorities and Women.

So now we have reservation even in the Lok Pal that mandates that 50% of the Lok Pal shall be judicial members while 50% shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, Minorities & Women. Note that the 2 50%'s arent mutually exclusive, which means there can be an overlap - which means that the same 50% can be both judicial members as well as from SC/ST/OBCs, Minorities & Women.

Important point here is that there is no stipulation that there should be ONLY 50%. So we now have the following possibilities -

  1. All of the Lokpal consists of SC/ST/OBCs, Minorities & Women (out of which at least 50% are judicial members).
  2. All of the Lokpal consists of judicial members (out of which at least 50% are SC/ST/OBCs, Minorities & Women).

If my understanding is right, both scenarios above are possible.
Here's the question - if the assumption is right that it requires the presence of SC/ST/OBCs, Minorities, Women members to ensure fair treatment in case the accused government servant happens to be from one of those groups, doesn't that imply that you don't have confidence in the impartiality of the other 50% (assuming the other 50% isn't from this list)
Doesn't it logically imply that members from this group need not be expected to be impartial to someone from outside this group?
Or do you mean to say that non-category members can't be trusted when the accused is from one of the categories, while category members can be, when the accused is from a general category?

The Minority Question -
We are back to square one here. What is the definition of "minority" that will be used? If the Lokpal has this composition, is the Lokayukta expected to follow something similar (I am assuming there is no compulsion, but it's anyone's guess whether the states WONT follow suit). In that case, how about states where, simply going by religious parameters, Hindus are a minority or all religions are of relatively similar population where it wouldn't be accurate to categorize one as Majority and the others are Minorities.
For eg:
Nagaland:        90% Christian, 8% Hindu & 2% Muslim
Meghalaya:      70% Christian, 13% Hindu
J&K:        67% Muslim, 30% Hindu

Oh, but this is the Communal Violence Bill all over again!

What specifically is the purpose of this quota here? Surely, we're not trying to uplift and provide opportunities to the historically suppressed communities?
How long are we going to have this quota thing going on? Isn't there some kind of closure that we can expect at some point of time in the future?
Will this quota system henceforth be templatized? What are the chances that we'll now start having agitations from communities demanding for reservation in other constitutional/statutory bodies as well?
Where are we going? Is this the right idea to communicate to our people?
blog comments powered by Disqus