At the same time, there is a need to ensure that reserved category seats that don’t get filled are not simply kept vacant, but are transferred to the open pool.
Critics of reservation—largely from the unreserved category—have always championed merit, and rightly so. Therefore, it is quite ironic that the migration of candidate from a reserved category to the unreserved category after she had topped the merit list for the unreserved category should be challenged in the court.
Sadhna Singh Dangi appeared for an exam conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission as an OBC candidate, but topped the merit list for unreserved category candidates. The commission, therefore, drafted her under the unreserved category since she didn’t seek appointment as a reserved category candidate after the results of the qualification process. However, this was challenged at the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which ruled to quash Dangi’s appointment via the unreserved category, junking the entire merit list and ordering for it to be redrawn. However, the Supreme Court seems to have seen the matter differently and has stayed the high court’s ruling.
- Getting money to the SMEs: Banks have replaced the development finance institutions, but without the necessary skill sets
- Disastrous management: NDMA's institutional redundancy and the mismanagement of Covid-19 pandemic
- A state in crisis: Why Ministry of Home Affairs is a surprising pick to deal with Covid crisis
While the grievance of the unreserved category candidates is understandable—one seat from the total for the unreserved category candidates went to a meritorious candidate belonging to a reserved category—there can be no doubt that more Dangis should be encouraged. At the same time, there is a need to ensure that reserved category seats that don’t get filled are not simply kept vacant, but are transferred to the open pool. As education levels improve across categories, an open competition will only be in the interest of merit—however, for this to be meaningful the government has to set a deadline to rolling back reservation, since this can’t be allowed to continue in perpetuity.