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Muffled voices for merit…

In the February issue of IE I referred to the disruption to the court work by lawyers with demands including caste-based reservations in the selection of judges. Earlier, several leaders of caste groups objected to the Tamil Nadu government recruiting specialist doctors for a super specialty hospital on the basis of merit and not by the

reservation criteria. Interestingly, a few political leaders suggested a deviation from this settled policy. The chief spokesperson of the Congress party, Janardhan Dwivedi, expressed his opinion that reservations and special preferences should be given on economic criteria. C Aranganayakam, a former Minister of Education in the AIADMK government, who crossed over to the DMK, recently resigned from the DMK. The reason he attributed is again the neglect of merit and the insistence on  caste-based reservations.

M G Ramachandran (MGR), soon after assuming charge as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1977, announced a plan to extend reservations on the basis of economic criteria. But the Tamil society, riven by caste differences  for decades, would not agree. Political parties and other leaders mounted a severe attack and forced MGR to retract. Rattled by the severity of opposition, MGR not merely retracted, but expanded the share of reservation for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes to 69 per cent against the limit prescribed by the constitution of 50 per cent!

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