Our Beacon Forum

Muslim Empowerment Movement
By:Aariz Mohammed, Maldives
Date: Thursday, 11 January 2018, 10:25 pm


I would like to share this important issue that needs to be addressed in your respective networks by that we could ensure our community share in the Constitutional obligation of affirmative action that have been enjoyed since few decades.

Our youth has been benefiting to the extent of 25 to 30 thousand every year in terms of Govt employment and also getting seats in professional education throughout the country other than getting financial benefits.

The issues that are involved in constituting Justice Rohini Commission from Muslim Context are :

1. Given the political context of the last 3 years, there is a possibility that the GOI may discontinue Reservations to the Muslim communities that are in the Central OBC list by stating that Muslims being the Community that refuses to practice “Caste” as per their religious affiliation can’t be treated as a “Class” in accordance with the formula adopted by Supreme court in Mandal judgment that in Indian Context “ Caste = Class “, hence Muslim communities can’t be given OBC status.

2. The other issue involved in this is Sub-categorization of the OBC list. There is a possibility that Muslim communities can be listed in such Sub-Group that they never ever able to compete with others in the list and get something out of it if the Categorization is not based on Scientific Criteria that needs to be evolved for which the Rohini Commission has to undertake rigorous exercise as per the Mandate.

3. OBC / BC lists of Different States were Sub-Categorized into A, B, C, D, / MBCs etc., Dalit converts to Christianity were kept in separate group and Muslims are also kept in an exclusive group in some states for better opportunity of Dissemination of Social Justice as mandated in Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution. However these categories are not substantiated with necessary scientific data proof as in the case of Inclusion of Communities / Classes in the respective state / Central lists.

Present Justice Rohini Commission is supposed to evolve a Scientific Criteria of Identify OBC either for inclusion or exclusion from the OBC list that followed by Sub-categorization.

Hence, the procedure and the methodology that needs to be followed by the Commission needs to be based on different observations / Judgments on the subject that came up in post Mandal era. The recent Judgment of Supreme court on Jat reservation case asked the relevant body to evolve criteria beyond Mandal in the changed scenario. Given the Socio-Educational and Work profile changes in the post Mandal era the Commission has a tough task that by default demand for consultation of different communities and classes in the country.

The previous experiences of different commission Reports and Judgments by different courts the discussion on reservations to Muslim Communities as Class / Caste / Community as a whole was limited to few paragraphs and the exercise done on this aspect is also very meager interns Legality, data and Sociological study due to many reasons. In the context, it will be good if the community itself makes necessary steps to do a comprehensive exercise and make a proposal to the Commission. We should also be proactive to make a representation with all the necessary inputs from every part of the country and from every Class of the Community to the commission.

4. The Commissions’ recommendations will have Implications not only on Central OBC list but also on State OBC / BC list also and will force the respective states to revise their lists also.

In view of this, I request you to take this issue seriously and suggest what can be done collectively as a community to ensure a better future for our next generation.

The commissions’ term is extended for 12 more weeks on 22nd of Dec 2017.

Your earliest response will be appreciated by that we can evolve some action course.

Background :

On 2nd of October 2017, GOI constituted a commission to sub-categorization of OBCs under Article 340 of the Constitution of India. Justice G.Rohini is its Chairperson and Census Commissioner, Director Anthropological Survey of India and Dr.JK Bajaj are its members.

The terms of reference are : 1. Examine the extent of inequitable distribution among OBCs, 2. Evolving criteria for sub-categorization, 3. Identification and classification of them in to sub-categorization.

See [ http://pib.nic.in/newsite/ PrintRelease.aspx?relid=171331 ]

They were given 12 weeks of time to complete the job.

1. Several OBC / BC Commissions were requesting GOI to furnish Caste related data to meet the mandate of Section 9 and 11 of the respective State BC Acts, which dealt with the same subject from the days of Mandal. Several Court Judgments have also commented on the data requirement. However, GOI has been unresponsive to these demands for several decades.

2. Without collecting Caste / Class related data through the decadal national Census followed by a study of ASI on Castes / Classes and its relevance to Social and Educational Backwardness irrespective of religious affiliations, the above terms of reference of the commission cannot be addressed. This mandates that a new Caste column should be incorporated in the schedule of Census 2021, with necessary sub-columns. Any criteria that are evolved without such data cannot be considered “scientific”.

3. Since the above information cannot be generated either by the ASI or by the Registrar General of Census within a short duration, it appears that the objective of forming this commission by the government at this stage raises apprehensions that need to be understood.

What is to be demanded :

1. The Commission should be asked to obtain necessary data from the GOI to be scientific as asked in the terms of reference for which the Census 2021 should have Caste Column and necessary sub-columns and the caste data obtained through the Census has to be provided to the Commission. Also, the ASI should separately carry out a study of Castes among Caste practicing communities and Class among others who deny to follow any ‘Caste’ either by religious affiliation or by belief.

2. The Commission should also undertake Public hearings and record the concerns of Different Backward Classes in the country that were deprived the benefits of Affirmative action even though they were in the OBC / BC list so that appropriate inclusive criteria are evolved to meet the mandate. The demand for the identification of third gender and orphans single parent children as Backwards also needs to be addressed.

3. In view of the Judgments on this subject, both by several High Courts and the Apex court as well as the specific observations made by the Apex court in the Jat reservation case, it is advisable that the Commission should refine the Mandal criteria as Social change by Globalization has affected all the existing Castes / classes.

With Warm Regards