Article 330 provides that seats shall be reserved in Lok Sabha for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and article 332(1) provides reservation of seats for them in the State Assemblies. Initially, this reservation was to last for ten years only. Article 334, as originally enacted, provided that these provisions relating to the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall cease to have effect on the expiry of a period of ten years from the commencement of the Constitution. The period fixed by this article was extended after every ten years through constitutional amendments in 1960, 1969, 1980 and 1990.
Should this reservation be allowed to continue beyond January 25, 2000? The answer to this is `yes' for the following reasons.
After 52 years of Independence, it is unfortunate that the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes are still living in poor condition. They are given isolated places to live. In villages, they are not allowed to enter temples, they are not allowed to take water from all wells, they are given only specific jobs to continue and they are subjected to atrocities. Since disabilities flowing from the centuries old caste system still persist, it is necessary to continue the existing pattern of reservation for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
Under the dynamic leadership of hi-tech Chief Minister, Shri Nara Chandrababu Naidu garu, Telugu Desam Government in Andhra Pradesh has taken special measures for the betterment of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. The Government has provided Mundadugu Programme for the betterment of the Scheduled Castes and Chaitanya Programme for the betterment of the Scheduled Tribes. The equivalent term in English for mundadugu is `a step forward' and for chaitanya is `awakening'. These programmes have increased opportunities for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
I thank the hon. President, Shri K. R. Narayanan for having committed to safeguard the interests of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in his Address to both the Houses of Parliament.
On behalf of the Telugu Desam Party and on my own behalf, as a Member representing a reserved constituency, I would request the Government to extend reservation in Lok Sabha and the Assemblies for ten more years.
In the end, I support the Bill and appeal to all the hon. Members to pass it unanimously.
*SMT. SANDHYA BAURI (VISHNUPUR): Hon'ble Mr Chairman Sir, I feel proud to participate in the 84th Constitution Amendment Bill which is being discussed today in the House and which is going to extend the period of 10 years to be provided to the SCs and STs for reservation in educational institution and jobs. It is more than 50 years that the country has got its freedom and it is also 50 years that our Constitution came into being. But it is a matter of regret that even after half a century has passed, the policy of reservation has no impact on the people. You know Sir, how the poor people and Scheduled Casts and the Scheduled Tribes of our country live their day to day life. Most of the SCs and STs do not have proper dwelling. These socially deprived people live a precarious life. They do not have proper dwelling no roof on the top, no drinking water, no toilet, no proper facility for leading a normal humane life. They still fulfil their bare necessities of life. Although our Constitution has provision for reservation for these socially deprived people, they have not got the benefit of reservation either in education or job. Literacy is still a distant dream for these people and until and unless, they are educated, how can they be absorbed in job? As far as the question of job facility is concerned, these people have not been benefitted at all. Actually proper implementation of reservation policy is the need of the hour. The intention of benefitting these socially deprived people is there, the provision of reservation is there in the Constitution. But until and unless the policy is followed honestly and implemented properly, the lot of the SCs and STs cannot be changed. They must be provided proper opportunity to educate themselves and thus get the benefit of job reservation and then only they can be a part of the mainstream. Until and unless the Government adopt appropriate measures to implement reservation policy, the society cannot develop, the ______________________________________________________________________________
*Translation of the speech originally delivered in Bengali.
country cannot prosper. We must remember that the SCs and STs of our country have also participated in our freedom struggle. They are our equal partners for the development and prosperity of the country. Our forefathers have provided reservation to these unfortunate lot so that they can become one with the mainstream. But how long will it take for proper implementation of our reservation policy. Every 10 years we are increasing the period of reservation. But it is a matter of regret even after so many years. The condition and deplorable situation of these socially deprived people could not be changed. We must think deeply where the loopholes lie? Those loopholes must be plugged properly and the benefits of reservation enshrined in our Constitution must be provided to these unfortunate people. Some of these SCs and STs do work in some concerns and provide help for the development of society, for the property of our country. But unfortunately we do get help from them for the development of our society. Due recognition for their service is not given to them. We do not provide enough opportunity to ameliorate their condition. It is a matter of shame and regret that even after 50 years of independence, we have to discuss this issue time and again in the House. This Bill was supposed to be introduced in the 12th Lok Sabha. Since the House was suddenly dissolved, the Bill could not be introduced. Now this Bill is being discussed in the present Lok Sabha. But mere discussion and extension of 10 years for reservation is not enough. The SCs and STs must have proper machinery for information. Sometimes these people are not even properly informed about their opportunity either in educational institution or job facility. Sometimes, the information is deliberately suppressed and that is how these people are deprived of their job opportunity or facility for admission in educational institutions. There is a general impression that the SCs and STs have been benefitted enormously due to reservation policy. This is not true. The all India data shows that maximum number of SCs' and STs' children start their livelihood with their parents. They don't have any education. They do not enjoy childhood and start earning at a very tender age. The children must be given primary education and schooling. They must get every help to continue their education. Our policy is to think on higher level. We feel what can be done after the graduation of these SCs and STs. But first and foremost attention must be focussed on the primary level. The condition of these SCs and STs is deplorable. We must initiate proper planning and take concrete steps to improve their condition and then only their children can pursue their education. It is a fact that proper education is the only tool to awaken these people and enable them to stand in their life. So we must adapt appropriate measure to educate these people right from the beginning. Many Scheduled Tribes depend on nature even now. They depend on the sky, the air, the water and the hills for their survival. We have forest conservation project. But these people though depend on nature and preserve forests have not been included in all these projects. They should also be included in all these projects. It is not only enough to increase the period of 10 years to provide reservation to the SCs and STs and other backward classes. Proper implementation of reservation policy is also urgently needed. The SCs and STs must have ample opportunity to get the benefit of reservation in education in job and in promotional avenues. The SCs and STs can become a part of the mainstream only when they are properly educated. Then only they can compete with the general category confidently. So we must adopt appropriate measures to implement reservation policy so as to benefit the SCs and STs. I urge upon the Government to go deep into the lacunae prevailing in the system and pursue the policy of reservation honestly and sincerely and then only the lot of the agelong deprivation of the socially backward community can be ameliorated and the purpose served.
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to participate in important discussion and before I conclude I must say that I whole heartedly support the important Bill. Thank you once again for giving me an opportunity to participate in the discussion.
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN (BALASORE): Thank you very much, Sir, for giving me this opportunity.
Sir, let me make it clear at the very beginning that I rise to support this Bill. I am just going to make some suggestions on this Bill. I listened with rapt attention to Shri Buta Singh. The points made by him were quite exhaustive. Anybody who listened to his speech would believe that reservation is an end in itself. He wanted more and more and more reservation, in every aspect of life, in every type of job, in every Service of the Government.
Fifty years before, reservation was given to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of this country because for thousands and thousands of years they were tortured by the Hindu society in the country. They were not given their due recognition in the society. That is why it was decided that in order to give them a level playing-field they should be given reservation. Therefore, we have been giving reservation to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for the last fifty years. But, initially it was decided that it will be given only for ten years. Now, in every ten years we are coming back to Parliament and seeking reservation for another term of ten years. Why? What is the reason? If we go on just asking for reservation for another term after every ten years, where is the end? Can we not fix a time-frame for reservation? Can we not say that by such and such year we will bring an end to the policy of reservation. ...(Interruptions)
SHRI PRAVINCHANDRA SOMABHAI RASHTRAPAL (PATAN): ...Provided we fix time to remove untouchability from this country... (Interruptions)
MR. CHAIRMAN : No cross-talk please.
SHRI VIJAYENDRA PAL SINGH (BHILWARA): At least, identify the creamy layer... (Interruptions)
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN : Sir, Shri K.R. Narayanan, is now the hon. President of this country. Has he been elevated to that post because he is a Scheduled Caste? It is by the dint of his virtue, he has risen to that position.
DR. MANDA JAGANNATH (NAGARKURNOOL): What happened when he was elected to the post of Vice-President? Was he given the chance based on his merit?... (Interruptions)...Only when the parliamentarians of the Forum of SCST Members exerted pressure, this issue was considered... (Interruptions)
MR. CHAIRMAN: Dr. Jagannath, please take your seat.
SHRI KODIKUNNAL SURESH (ADOOR): Sir, he is diverting the issue... (Interruptions)
MR. CHAIRMAN: Please do not provoke the hon. Member.
SHRI KODIKUNNNAL SURESH (ADOOR): He is speaking against the Bill... (Interruptions)
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN : Hon. Shri G.M.C. Balayogi has now become the hon. Speaker of this august House... (Interruptions)
SHRI KODIKUNNAL SURESH (ADOOR): Do not say all these things. We know the entire thing.
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN : Sir, from the very beginning, I have made the point very clear that I am supporting this Bill. I am not opposing it. I think, probably, he has misunderstood my point. He probably thinks that I have stood here just to oppose it. I am not opposing it. I have a mind of my own. So, I can speak. I do not know, why he is opposing me. I am supporting it. But I have also some points to make. Please listen to me. We have also points. It is not that we do not have anything to say. If we cannot say it here, we will speak it outside.
SHRI PRAVINCHANDRA SOMABHAI RASHTRAPAL : You are supporting it but at the same time you are talking something which is hurting us.
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN : I am not hurting anybody.
SHRI PRAVINCHANDRA SOMABHAI RASHTRAPAL : We want that you oppose it.
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN :Do not direct me what I should say. I would say what I want to say. I am not going by your directions.
Sir, in India, there are two things. One is the caste system and the other is the class system. When fifty years before we had the Constitution of India, we became free. Fifty years before when we adopted the system of reservation, there was no distinction between a lower class and a lower caste in India.
DR. MANDA JAGANNATH (NAGARKURNOOL): What about the untouchability?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Please address the Chair.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Please do not interrupt him.
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN : Sir, a man of lower caste also belonged to a person of lower caste at that time. Generally, fifty years before, all the people belonging to the Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes also belonged to the poorer class of this society. It is a fact.
Now, the situation has changed after the Reservation Policy has come into existence. Why am I telling all these things? I am coming to this point now as to why this reservation system is being extended again and again every ten years. Let us take the example of a Collector who belongs to either the Scheduled Caste or the Scheduled Tribe community ,Supposing that Scheduled Caste or the Scheduled Tribe Collector is having a Chaprasi who belongs to a Brahmin community working under him and at the same time he is having a neighbour who is also from the IAS belonging to the higher class, with whom does he interact? He interacts more with the person who belongs to the higher class and who belongs to the same class, meaning thereby, Collector. Supposing, a person belonging to the Brahmin community might be having a clerk or a servant belonging to the Brahmin community working under him. Will he interact with him? He will not interact with him. He will interact more with another Collector who belongs to the Scheduled Caste community.
Now it is the question of class. It is not the question of caste. So, if we change class structure of the society by providing better opportunity to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, automatically this will go. Let us take the example of Collector. He has become the Collector by getting a reservation quota and now he has become the Collector of the district and he stays and then he becomes the Secretary. He remains in high society and in big city and all his children get better education and better livelihood and again when the reservation for the second generation comes, it will be the son of the Collector who gets that opportunity. It has never percolated down.
DR. MANDA JAGANNATH : What is wrong in it?
MR. CHAIRMAN : Please don't argue. You substantiate your point.
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN : It has not percolated down to the poorest of the poor of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Should it not go to them? So, my suggestion is let there be a creamy layer among the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
SHRI KODIKUNNIL SURESH (ADOOR): No.
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN : The same reservation should continue. But those people who have become Class I Officers, Ministers and M.Ps, their children should not get.
SHRI KODIKUNNIL SURESH : At present, there is mention about reservation under Article 334.
MR. CHAIRMAN : I will allow you also to speak please.
SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN : I am not yielding. It has now become a question of vested interest... (Interruptions).. Now, the question of reservation. It has become a part of vested interest in this country. Everybody now wants to get into the reserved category. All those people and castes who never belonged to the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe or Backward Class are now vying with each other to get into that List. You see the List of the number of castes, those who were included in the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe categories 50 years ago and, now you see the List today. If it was 1,000 castes 15 years ago, it has now gone up to 5,000. I know in Orissa, there is a caste called Radhi. They are used to prepare the flattened rice which we call Chuda in Orissa. When they were offered 50 years back that they could be included in the Scheduled Caste category, they refused. They said "No. We cannot be equated with the Scheduled Castes." But now after 30 or 40 years, they filed a case in the Supreme Court demanding that they should be included in the Scheduled Caste's list and now they have become Scheduled Castes. Take the example of my own caste. I belong to Khandait community. I do not know whether I am forward or backward because in Orissa, I belong to a backward community and the Central Government has not accepted us as a backward community. As far as the Centre is concerned, I belong to forward community. So, I am backward in my State. I am forward in the Centre. So, I do not know the status of my caste people because their numbers are very high. They are now demanding that they should be included in the list of backward castes. They belong to OBCs now. They also want reservation. So, the question of super specialisation is raised as to why the Supreme Court has denied any reservation. Suppose, I belong to a backward caste and a person has become a doctor from my community taking advantage of reservation. If I find that he is a bad doctor, should I go to him? If a Scheduled Caste person is an engineer and he is not proving to be good, will any Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe go to him?... (Interruptions) I mean to say that if from my community anybody is good, I will go to him.
DR. MANDA JAGANNATH : He has insulted the community. He should take back his words. He should withdraw his words. ... (Interruptions) He has insulted the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and the backward class doctors and he has called them bad doctors. ... (Interruptions)
SHRI KODIKUNNIL SURESH : He is insulting the Scheduled Caste doctors and engineers.
DR. MANDA JAGANNATH : You are insulting these communities. There are many very good doctors and engineers from these communities. ... (Interruptions)