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Former NCBC chief: Without caste census, OBC sub-categorisation not scientific

Justice Eswaraiah says if the government wants to sub-categorise the OBCs in order to give them justice, it should either publicise the data of Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC)-2011 or it should conduct a caste census.

Written by Shyamlal Yadav | New Delhi |
February 25, 2021 1:30:30 am

QUESTIONING THE idea of sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), former chairman of the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) Justice Vangala Eswaraiah says without a caste census, this exercise could perpetuate injustice. He terms the sub-categorisation, which is likely to be proposed by the Commission headed by Justice G Rohini, as “un-scientific, atrocious and illegal”.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Justice Eswaraiah says if the government wants to sub-categorise the OBCs in order to give them justice, it should either publicise the data of Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC)-2011 or it should conduct a caste census.

This comes days after current NCBC Chairman Bhagwan Lal Sahni said the panel was in favour of dividing the OBCs into four sub-categories, in line with what the Justice G Rohini Commission, which was constituted to examine the sub-categorisation of the OBCs, is likely to propose.

The G Rohini Commission, whose tenure was extended last month, is expected to submit its report by July 31.

Explained

Why the need for sub-categories

OBCs are granted 27 per cent reservation in jobs and education under the central government. The debate about the sub-categorisation of OBCs arose out of the perception that only a few affluent communities among the over 2,600 included in the central list of OBCs have secured a major part of this reservation. The argument for this sub-categorisation is that it would ensure “equitable distribution” of representation among all OBC communities.

Justice Eswaraiah, a former Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court, was appointed chairman of the NCBC in 2013 by the UPA government and held the post till 2016. Having worked with both UPA and NDA governments, he says: “I wrote to government of India that without the SECC data, it will not be possible to scientifically sub-categorise or take up the revision of the caste and communities to exclude existing castes or include other deserving castes.”

“I told them that you (government) have conducted SECC-2011 after spending thousands of crores but what made you to not publish it and only publish it selectively? To sub-categorize the castes and communities the publication of SECC is a must,” says Justice Eswaraiah.

He recalls a meeting of the Census Commissioner with Secretary, NCBC and Secretary of the Social Justice and Empowerment on the issue when he headed the NCBC. “They promised they will share link to SECC data but ultimately they did not share. I said that even if you share it, unless an expert committee is appointed and culls out the particulars of the existing backward caste-communities and other communities whose social, political, economic, educational level is very low, it will not be possible to take up the revision or sub-categorization (of the list of OBCs).”

He says what the Justice Rohini Commission is doing is all “unscientific, unconstitutional and illegal”. With this sub-categorisation, “some justice will be done, but it will not be complete justice. Injustice will perpetuate, continue and there will be hue and cry among the backward classes. It is not scientific and it is atrocious and it is illegal thing. Its an eyewash”, he says.

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