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Striking a Balance: The Path to Genuine Social Justice

Striking a Balance: The Path to Genuine Social Justice
  • The Maratha Reservation Bill in Maharashtra faces legal challenges: The bill exceeds the Supreme Court’s 50% reservation limit and may not hold up in court.
  • Political pressure trumps data-driven approach: The bill relies on political support rather than comprehensive data on the Marathas’ social and economic needs, potentially leading to unequal distribution of benefits within the community.

The recent passage of the Maratha Reservation Bill in Maharashtra highlights the ongoing struggle between political expediency and rational policymaking in the realm of affirmative action. While the bill garnered unanimous support in the state assembly, its legality and effectiveness remain in question.

The core argument against the bill lies in its tenuous legal ground. The Supreme Court has previously struck down similar legislation exceeding the 50% reservation limit. The current bill, even with a “creamy layer” exclusion, pushes the total reservation share to 72%, potentially inviting legal challenges.

Furthermore, the bill’s reliance on political pressure rather than comprehensive data raises concerns about its effectiveness in addressing the true needs of the Maratha community. The community itself exhibits significant internal variations in terms of economic and educational status. Reservation, without acknowledging these nuances, risks unequal distribution of benefits and potentially perpetuating inequalities within the community itself.

The editorial proposes an alternative approach: a comprehensive socio-economic census. This census, alongside the delayed decennial census, could provide crucial data to understand the true nature of backwardness and discrimination across various groups in the state. Such data would be instrumental in designing targeted policies, ensuring that affirmative action benefits the most disadvantaged sections, irrespective of caste, and upholding the principles of social justice.

In conclusion, while the Maratha community’s demand for social mobility deserves consideration, the current bill appears to be a politically motivated shortcut that might ultimately be ineffective and legally unsustainable. A data-driven approach through a comprehensive census holds the key to designing sustainable and equitable solutions for achieving genuine social justice.

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