The political fraternity in Bihar on Wednesday strongly disapproved of the alleged denigration of a government employee inside the Patna high court recently, with allusions to his having secured his job through "reservation".
Parties as diverse as Bharatiya Janata Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United seemed unanimous in their distaste for the condescending manner in which the official, a district land acquisition officer currently under suspension, was allegedly addressed.
The matter came to light after a video footage of the court hearing, of November 23 last, went viral on the social media.
PTI could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
The official had appeared in connection with a compensation order he had passed at his previous place of posting.
"How did you pass such an order? For how many years have you been in service?" the judge can be heard asking with bemusement, to which the official replied that he has been in government job for 26 years.
The judge also asked why the official got suspended on his latest assignment and the deponent said he was caught by the vigilance department.
"Mare hue ko kyaa maarein?" (of what use is beating up someone who is already dead), muttered the judge, adding that the official need not appear on the next date nor does he require to file a personal affidavit.
"You just pray to God and fight your vigilance case," remarked the judge, as a parting note, before asking whether he had got selected availing of reservation system.
The official replied in the affirmative before leaving, amid peals of laughter even as the judge remarked, "I had guessed so from your name."
Some of the advocates can be heard saying to the judge, "You must have figured by now what is wrong with this man...he must have made enough money for two people holding the post."
"Not at all," said the judge, adding, "this poor chap must have spent all that he might have earned."
JD-U parliamentary board chief Upendra Kushwaha told PTI, "The comments of the judge demean the Constitution that has granted reservations to the underdogs and is unbecoming of a person holding a high office. He should tender a public apology."
RJD national vice president Shivanand Tiwary said, "Of late, the higher judiciary has become quite uninhibited in displaying its bias towards the Savarnas (upper castes). Demands must be raised to make the higher judiciary more socially inclusive."
Tiwary also stressed the need for implementing recommendations of a 30-member committee headed by Karia Munda, way back in 1999-2000, to introduce the system of reservations in judges' appointments.
State BJP spokesperson and OBC Morcha national general secretary Nikhil Anand said, "We disapprove of the judge's comment. There should be no snide remarks about reservations and any other system sanctioned by the Constitution."
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to ensuring adequate representation of SCs, STs, OBCs and women in his cabinet, in the judiciary and other sectors," the BJP leader added.