New Delhi, Oct 30 (UNI) High caste governance of independent India was responsible for rampant corruption in the country, senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, representing RJD, headed by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, today told the Supreme Court.
Mr Jethmalani, while arguing before the five-judge constitution bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, came out with the strongest defence of the UPA government reservation policy providing 27% reservation to OBCs in admission to educational institutions of higher learning and contended that the affirmative action of the government amounted to applying balm to the old wounds of the depressed sections of the Indian society.
The senior counsel also asserted before the apex court that Art 15(4)&16(4) formed the basic feature of the original Constitution of India and the necessity of affirmative action has to be culled out from Art 14 of the constitution itself.
Mr Jethmalani also contended that the present generations of the high caste people must make some sacrifice to compensate for the wrongs done by their older generations.
Other judges on the bench were Justices Arijit Pasayat, C K Thakkar, R V Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari. Mr Jethmalani had another dig at high caste people when he asserted that he would prefer an 'honest simpleton than a clever crook'.
Mr Jethmalani also took exception to the pleadings made by the petitioners opposing the reservation policy of the government, that caste based reservation would produce only intellectual pgymies and contended that the petition is liable to be dismissed for making wild allegations and irrelevant averments.
According to him the backwardness among the depressed classes was genetical accident because their birth in a particular caste was beyond their control and ruthless social system did not allow them to come out of their backwardness.
The percentage of OBCs in the country is 36% which justified the quota policy of the government. Hence, even going by the admission of the petitioner, OBCs are entitled to 27% reservation on the principle of proportionate representation, he added.
He also contended before the bench that the petitioner in effect are trying to get the nine-judge bench judgement in Mandal commission case overruled by five-judge bench and took exception that the seven-judge bench judgement in R Venkatraman case, which is the oldest judgement on the issue of reservation was omitted from Supreme Court Report (SCR), demonstrating the power and clout of high caste reporters. He concluded by asserting that the reservation policy of the government aimed at uplifting the socially, educationally and economically backward sections of society is also integral part of the basic structure of the constitution of India.
Counsel for Delhi government, Ashok Bhan, also supported the quota policy of the government and contended that the 85 new castes have been added to the list of OBCs in Delhi since the implementation of the Mandal Commission report and OBCs form 48% of the total population of Delhi and hence, the quota policy of the government was fully justified.
Arguments remained inconclusive and shall continue tomorrow.