Anti-reservationists Rattled by New Rules

Till now, reservation rules were applied only while drawing up the final merit list. There was no reservation in prelims and mains. This meant that no matter how high they scored in prelims and mains, the reserved-category candidates could not migrate to the general category. The former were confined to their quota and thus, 50 per cent seats were automatically “reserved” for the upper-caste candidates

On 25 July, the Allahabad High Court restrained the UP Public Service Commission from holding interviews under the new reservation rules until the disposal of a PIL filed on the issue. When the UPPSC, on July 4, announced the results of the mains exam of the Combined State Provincial Civil Services Exam-2011, the anti-reservationists lost their night’s sleep. A large number of candidates from the “reserved classes” had cleared the exam against the general seats. These candidates would have been declared unsuccessful under the old rules. On 27 July, quoting Suresh Pandey the leader of the anti-reservation students in Allahabad, newspaper reported that he had been assured by Mulayam Singh that the government would ask UPPSC to repeal the new regulation. At the time of going to Press, pro-reservationists had launched a powerful protest against this.

Under the Akhilesh Yadav government’s new reservation policy, reservation was given in all the three stages (prelims, mains and interview) of the PCS exam. The ramifications of the decision need to be understood. Till now, reservation rules were applied only while drawing up the final merit list. There was no reservation in prelims and mains.  This meant that no matter how high they scored in prelims and mains, the reserved-category candidates could not migrate to the general category. The former were confined to their quota and thus, 50 per cent seats were automatically “reserved” for the upper-caste candidates. Because of their inherent qualities (viz., capacity for hard work), the reserved-category candidates score higher than their upper-caste counterparts in prelims and mains of UPSC, PCS and other such exams.

At a meeting of the UPPSC on 27 May 2013, one of the members, Gurudarshan Singh proposed that the “Candidates of reserved category, whose marks were higher than or equal to the  marks of general candidates should be treated as general category candidates.” The Commission’s chairman Alok Yadav concurred with the proposal and admitted that the reservation rules of the Commission were flawed. To correct this flaw, it was decided that the reserved-category candidates whose marks were higher than or equal to the general-category candidates in the merit list of main exam should be called for interview, treating them as general-category candidates. This led to a large number of reserved- category candidates being selected for interview from the general quota.

The upper-caste candidates are opposing this provision. They contend that they may stand to lose 30 per cent seats. They fear that reserved-category candidates will be selected on 30 per cent of the 50 per cent general seats. Accusing the UPPSC and the Akhilesh Yadav government of casteism, they have announced that they would not accept this change at any cost.

On the other hand, the Dalit and OBC candidates preparing for the exam have welcomed the decision. They say that they were suffering because of this major flaw in the reservation rules. According to OBC students’ leader Manoj Yadav, “The candidates of OBC and Dalit communities far outnumber the general-category candidates in competitive exams. There is no justification for not migrating OBC and Dalit candidates, who perform better than upper-caste candidates, to the general category. What had been happening till now was a conspiracy.”

It may be mentioned here that the UPSC too keeps the reserved-category candidates confined to their quota in the prelims and the mains. It is only in the final result that some reserved-category candidates are declared successful against general seats. Those reserved-category students who take benefit of higher age limit or number of attempts are compulsorily included in the reserved category. The decision of the UPPSC may also lead to a change in the policy of the UPSC. If that happens, it will be revolutionary step towards greater partnership of Bahujans in the Indian administrative system.

Published in the August 2013 issue of the Forward Press magazine

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