//Government plan silent on `fundamental aspect,' says K.K. Narendran

Government plan silent on `fundamental aspect,' says K.K. Narendran

KOCHI: K. K. Narendran, who headed the three-man commission of enquiry that found huge shortage in Backward Class representation in the Kerala Government services in 2001, feels that the measures announced by the Chief Minister on Thursday will help minimise the deficiency "at least in the future."

He told The Hindu that in the present circumstances, the Government had no other option but to take steps for plugging leakages in the BC quota in the future and for raising the educational standards of the BCs so that they could get more post in the merit quota.

However, Mr. Narendran, a former Kerala High Court judge, said the measures announced were silent on one important aspect – the loss of BC posts due to non-application of a `fundamental aspect of reservation’ that merit seats should not be counted against reserved posts.

He pointed out that according to Rule 14 B (part 2) of the Kerala State and Subordinate Services Rules, the number of people selected in the merit quota should not in any way affect the reserved number of posts. In his view, non-application of this provision was one of the reasons for the fall in the BC quota in the Governments services. Explaining the point further, he said: "Suppose 10,000 jobs are filled by the Government a year. Of this, 5,000 are from the open merit list and the other 5,000 are reserved for SC-ST, BC and others. Now, of the 5,000 persons in the merit list, 500 to 1,000 could be meritorious BCs who won in open competition. Just because they got on to the merit list, this 500 to 1,000 posts should not be reduced from the BC quota in the total 5,000 reserved posts."

Mr. Narendran said the BC leaders did not try to convince the Government to stick to this key provision. In his view, the BC leaders had not studied the report well and tried to understand its implications. They were not serious and sincere enough to get the quota system implemented effectively. He said special recruitment to make good the 18,000 posts lost to the BCs – mainly Muslims and Latin Catholics – was not feasible as it would need a constitutional amendment. He also noted that contrary to the general perception in Kerala, his commission had not recommended special recruitment. "It was the political parties fighting the 2001 Assembly elections that had raised the special recruitment issue even before our report was submitted to the Government," he recalled.

The Narendran Commission, which has been a key component of the political debate in Kerala in the past five years, interestingly had not made any recommendation to rectify the deficiencies in the BC quota system. The commission concluded the report thus: "Without the benefit of reservation, no community among the BCs can have adequate representation in the services under the Government, public-sector undertakings, autonomous bodies and institutions under the State Government, including universities."

K.P.M. Basheer,  Hindu, Friday, Jan 27, 2006