Controversy Surrounds Expansion of Reservation Quota in Jammu and Kashmir

Controversy Surrounds Expansion of Reservation Quota in Jammu and Kashmir

March 28, 2024 Off By Sharp Media

An increasing number of dissenting voices are emerging against the recent decision by the central government to expand the reservation quota to 70% in Jammu and Kashmir. This move comes against the backdrop of recent announcements aiming to allocate a separate 10% reservation for Paharis and other tribes, as well as augmenting the quota for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) to 8%.

Critics argue that the decision to allocate an additional 10% reservation for Scheduled Tribes (STs) at the expense of open merit undermines principles of meritocracy and equitable opportunities. They argue that reducing the open merit category to just 30% is unjust to the 70% population not covered by reservations. Sahil Parray, a resident of Srinagar, condemns this move, labelling it not as appeasement but as a betrayal of the populace.

Deepika Pushkar Nath, a prominent lawyer, expresses dismay at the administration’s decision, stating that it diminishes the struggles faced by candidates in the open merit category who have persevered through numerous challenges. She emphasizes the need for the administration to streamline the reservation system to prevent further disadvantages for the youth.

A group of aspirants has decided to challenge the new quota in the High Court, citing a violation of established rules. However, amidst an election year, political parties have refrained from opposing the move for fear of losing their vote banks. Junaid Azim Mattu, a leader from the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, voices concern over the lack of representation for those belonging to the open merit category, describing them as political orphans who suffer in silence.

The decision to expand the reservation quota was made by the Lieutenant Governor’s administration earlier in the month, amending the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Rules, 2005, in accordance with various legislative acts and the recommendations of the Jammu and Kashmir Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission. This included the inclusion of four new tribes in the Scheduled Tribes category and an announcement of a separate 10% reservation for them, as well as the addition of 15 new castes in the OBCs with an enhancement of the reservation from 5% to 8%.

Previously, Jammu and Kashmir had reserved quotas of 8% for Scheduled Castes (SCs), 10% for STs, 4% for OBCs, 4% for residents along the Line of Actual Control/International Border, 10% for Residents of Backward Area (RBA), and 10% for Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs).