Youth For Equality – the legal challenge begins

The case for equality is a case for India’s future

It is not easy to get middle-class citizens to come out in force and protest against government policy on the streets. The costs of sustained political activism are too immediate, too real and if the agitation is prolonged, too daunting. The benefits, on the other hand, are too remote, too uncertain and too far down the road. So when the Supreme Court ordered the anti-reservation protestors to end their public protests, pro-reservation politicians (that is, almost all of them) must have heaved a sigh of relief. They knew very well that it will be extremely difficult for the middle class to interrupt their studies or jobs and get back on the streets again.

Youth For Equality
, a movement that arose out of the UPA government’s most cynical attempt yet at vivisecting the country along communal socialist lines, describes itself as “non-violent, non-political and united”. Some of its supporters, including this blog, had deep misgivings on whether the Supreme Court’s order asking it to stand down will play into the hands of the UPA politicians. Parliament’s decision to pass the reservations bill, sans data or debate, strengthened those fears.

And then, on January 11th this year, the Supreme Court upheld the “rights test”, and opened up sneaky Ninth Schedule laws to legal review. This is perhaps the best news—in a very long time—not just for youth and equality, but for India’s future. YFE has mounted a legal challenge for this, and its petition comes up for hearing today. They are demanding the annulment of the 93rd Amendment. It is not hard to support them.

Aside:

Highlighting the importance of young Indians in the path to progress, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Saturday said the country needed a national movement of youth to ensure social development and equality. [The Hindu]

Nice words. Only, he’s not listening to what one national movement is saying to him.

5 thoughts on “Youth For Equality – the legal challenge begins”

  1. Wanted to mention Sri K.M.Vijayan, who has been fighting this battle from Tamil Nadu since the nineties. He was physically attacked and injured for daring to do this. His ‘Voice’ was a petitioner in the ninth schedule case. I have not seen any magazine doing a cover-story with him. Probably it is better that way since popularity may be dangerous for him.

    The point about direct political activism – a functioning democracy with rule of law should not need daily street protests. The fundamental issues, including the constitutional norms, are beyond winning or losing an election. That is not the way it works in India.

  2. Kudos to the SC justices for saving the day (so far).

    A bigger problem remains the lack of a ‘middle class vote bank’ in India despite our clearly perceiving a middle class consciousness. Sad fact is the netas can afford to ignore midle class concerns with impunity (and clearly do) because when push comes to shove, the illiterate poor rule the ballots. And it is just so much easier to bribe the latter with populist gimmicks and nonissues than please the smaller, smarter, former group of people.

    A good case in the point is Sonia’s lopsided priorities when she grounded Mumbai’s shanghai dreams of slu relocation and development in a jiffy. The wealth, the votes, the benefits that could have happened is all in the future and hence invisible, anyway.
    Just my 2 cents.

  3. When the Moily panel was appointed, it was quite clear that this was only an eyewash designed to put brakes on the raging anti-reservation movement. Further vindictive steps by the Health Minister on the striking AIIMS doctors and the Dean only confirmed the attitude of the Government – which was to bulldoze the quota regime onto the people. The SC warning to doctors at that time did sound like a death knell to the fledgling movement. I hope that the SC is able to now balance the forces and pull up the Govt on its assurances. As regards YFE, whether it will grow into a stronger force or not, only time will tell. Today’s Municipal elections in Mumbai has about 1-2 candidates put up by the YFE. Lets see if they are able to make any show! If they do, then there is some hope!

  4. YFE should come into Politics and with the passage of time should throw these greedy Politicians like Arjun Singh etc out .

    Devbrat

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