The caste based reservation system is an inconclusive debate with no clear cut lines. There is little evidence that it has made a difference to the poor over forty years of practicing it, but the system cannot be scrapped or changed easily. Various expert commissions of India are of the view that current school education system in India & abroad promotes and maintains a wide chasm between the advantaged and disadvantaged.
In lieu of the same, Delhi High Court revoked 60 percent quota which was applicable for wards of group-A government officials in the renowned Sanskriti School. It is to be noted that 60 percent seats in the school are reserved for children of Group-A officers, 25 per cent for those from the economically weaker sections, 10 per cent for wards of rest of the society and 5 per cent for the staff of school.
As per the verdict, “The state cannot provide funds to any private individual to establish a school for an elite segment of the society” and directed the government to “remediate this violation and ensure that the school in question open its doors equally to all students”. Further the court said, “Sanskriti School has been promoted as a school primarily for the children of Group-A officers of the Union Government who join service through the Civil Services Examination. This situation is analogous to the scenarios in Brown and Keyes cases.”
A bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Mukta Gupta pointed that the school created an ‘arbitrary separation’ between the children of Group-A officers and all other students by providing such a reservation. The segregation can very well be compared with the discrimination of white and black students in the US. The arbitrary separation violated constitutional provisions of equality and right to education.
The verdict passed by the court contains 31 pages and the opinion expressed in it is not against the Union Government creating good and quality schools. The opinion is against creating a good and a quality school with 60 per cent quota reserved for an elite segment of the society. In the verdict it has also been noticed that the fees charged by schools from the children of group-A officers of the Union Government is 40 percent less than the what is being charged from other children.
The bench said the government has ‘failed to show’ that no alternative means were available by which it could have created “a balance between children of the aforesaid officers, children of persons in other branches of the Indian Services and children of general category’. Further the bench added, “In the instant case, respondents have failed to justify a quota restricted to children of Group-A officers of the Union of India who enter service through the Civil Services Examination.”
The court has also directed the Centre to see whether it can be made part of the existing Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan. If in case all the kids of group-A officers could not be accommodated in the Kendriya Vidyalayas due to shortage of seats, another Kendriya Vidyalaya could be established on the land in question given free of cost to the Civil Services Society which had set up the Sanskriti School. The main reason behind setting up of new school as given by the court in its verdict is that the civil services officers, having transferable jobs found it difficult to admit their children in ‘good schools’ and ‘elite schools’.
The reservation in place to provide stable schooling environment for children of officers whose assignments ‘fluctuate’ between different geographic locations in India, ‘the justification is moot’, as this predicament was being faced by all persons engaged in other branches of the Indian services.
Do Read here : Why India needs a new debate on Caste Reservation & Quota?