Is quota in higher judiciary necessary and desirable?

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New Delhi, July 9: Justice P Sathasivam, who will be India's 40th Chief Justice of Supreme Court this month, has again raised the issue of quota in higher judiciary.

In a series interviews last week, afer his name was announced for the CJI's post, the Supreme court judge has spoken on various topics and one of them is about reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs.

"We have to give representation to OBCs, SC/STs and other minorities in the appointment of judges to High Courts and the Supreme Court," he has said.

"In a country like ours, where different communities, different culture are there, we have to give some latitude to them and fill up those pores," Justice Sathasivam said.

But at the same time he says "all appointments should be made on merits."

With all humility, one would say that merit and quota cannot go hand in hand.

There is already quota system in many states at lower judiciary levels and that should be sufficient to give representation to SC/ST and OBC candidates. Judges always come through the ranks and it is better the system begins at the bottom.

There should be quota in learning and education, there should be quota in providing facilities to the SC/ST and OBC students, so that they become part of mainstream and compete with the common pool of talent.

A quota creates class divide and artificial division among working professionals. With urban migration, India is breaking the language barrier but quota barrier is more corrosive and difficult to bridge.

View from UK

There has been debate on quota in UK, whose legacy we carry.

The Lord Judge had told a conference in 2009: "My only concern is that appointment to the judiciary should be based on merit.

"And for that matter I reject any idea of quotas for appointment, for a number of reasons, but not least because that would be unacceptably patronising.

"No judge should believe that his or her appointment has had something to do with his or her gender, or colour or creed, or origins, or that he or she was chosen to fill a gap in some quota scheme."

A quota is a problem in Bangladesh

Last month, Bangladesh Supreme Court's senior-most and lone Hindu judge, Surendra Kumar Sinha had sought assistance of India's Supreme Court in training their quota-riddled judiciary to infuse judicial discipline.

In Bangladesh, 30 percent of judicial posts are reserved for children of former judges, 10 percent each to women and locals, 5 percent to tribes and a small percentage for children of freedom fighters.

The lack of judicial training had resulted in granting of anticipatory bails to persons accused of crime without the judges deliberating on the consequences of such orders on the society.

OneIndia News

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