STATING THAT the existing collegium system must be “reviewed” to “ensure representation of all sections in judiciary”, Union Minister of State, HRD, Upendra Kushwaha said on Monday that “only 250-300 gharanas (families)” have sent Judges to the Supreme Courts since Independence.
“I have been talking about reservation in the judiciary and media for a long time. While we are part of the NDA, we are also an independent party. Recently, the President of India also talked about negligible representation of women and Scheduled Castes in higher judiciary. I firmly hold that there have been judges from only 250-300 gharanas (families) in the Supreme Court,” Kushwaha told The Indian Express.
“I do not doubt their competence but why aren’t people from other sections, especially Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) and Scheduled Castes, becoming judges in the higher judiciary. The forum of OBC MPs has been raising this issue in Parliament from time to time. Our government also wants the collegium system to go, but the Supreme Court has not agreed with us… We do not want conflict with the judiciary, but there has to be a better system to ensure representation of all sections in judiciary,” said Kushwaha, who is also president of the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP).
Pitching for a chief minister from within the Kushwaha community, he said: “I do not feel any discomfort in the company of Nitish Kumar… But there is nothing wrong in Kushwahas raising their voices for a Kushwaha chief minister. There have been chief ministers from several caste groups in Bihar, and it may be time for Kushwaha representation… The Kushwahas comprise 8-10 per cent of the state’s population.”
He, however, denied speculation about his growing proximity with RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
Denying any change in his party’s politics after Nitish’s return to the NDA, Kushwaha said, “RLSP was part of the NDA much before Nitish’s re-entry. I bear him no grudge.” He added that he also supports Nitish’s demand for reservation in the private sector.
The MoS, HRD, said the teachers’ recruitment system in Bihar needed to be overhauled to ensure “quality education”, and all state governments should comply with RTE Act provisions of not engaging teachers in non-teaching activities.
“I am talking about ensuring quality education. The quality of ad hoc teachers who have been hired has not helped the cause of Bihar’s education system. This recruitment system has to be reversed, and poor quality contract teachers should be accommodated in other departments,” he said. “Though we cannot take punitive action against any state government, we expect them to follow RTE Act norms. Karnataka has set an example by keeping its teachers away from the midday meal scheme,” he added.
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