Udit Raj, chairman of Indian Justice Party and president of the All India Confederation of SC/ST, hailed the United Progressive Alliance government's move to pass a constitutional amendment bill for promotion of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in both the government and private sectors. He regretted that the Bill could not be passed in the Parliament following an agitation by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
"I hold everyone responsible for denying the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribes to get promotions on quota basis. The Allahabad high court passed the order they gave a clear directive to then Mayawati government to take adequate steps to ensure the legislation is brought so that SC/ST could enjoy the benefits of promotions. It was on April 27, but instead of legislating she rushed to the Supreme Court and had the order of the high court struck down. She is the main culprit," he told rediff.com over the phone.
Vinod Kumar, general secretary of the All India Confederation of SC/ST's, said he could not tell how many would benefit by promotions on quota basis. "Unfortunately we cannot give you any figure. Nor can we give you details of the cases where SCs/STs are involved in court battles for denial of promotions on quota basis," said Kumar.
"Caste is worse than Apartheid," said Raj, who converted to Buddhism after he resigned from the Indian Revenue Service to float the Indian Justice Party.
Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, former director general of the Punjab police, was surprised when he was transferred to the Central Reserve Police Force and said that the officers and jawans belonging to Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes often became targets of officers from the upper class.
"I support quota-based reservations for SCs/STs in promotions. During my tenure in the CRPF, I found that upper class officers often gave excellent reports to officials from the same caste, which helped them to rise in stature. Often officers from the SC/ST were denied justice with no promotions," Gill told rediff.com.
But he has one reservation. "Such promotions should be limited to just technical jobs," he added.