In a major development, the Centre is learnt to have done away with reservation of two Anglo-Indian community members to the lower house of the Parliament. According to sources, the quota for Anglo-Indian community has been done away with “for the time being as the community was doing well” and did not require quota. The sources also said that the issue of quota to the Anglo-Indian community could be revisited at a later day, if required.
It is important to mention here that while the Modi government seems to have corrected this historical wrong, TFIPOST had pointed it out around three months ago, in an article titled, ’70 years after Independence, do we really need reservations for the anglo-Indian community?’. In the article, dated September 10, 2019, TFIPOST had pointed out the futility and unreasonableness of the Constitutional provisions empowering the President to nominate up to two Anglo Indian members in the lower house of the Parliament, and also empowering the Governor of a State to nominate one Anglo-Indian member to the concerned State Assembly.
Initially, the provision for the nomination of Anglo-Indian members was envisaged for 10 years, subsequent amendments have extended the period for which such transitory provisions are applicable. The 95th amendment extended this period up to January 26, 2020.
Now, the cabinet has given its approval for extending the reservation for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies for a period of another ten years, however, there has been no such extension when it comes to the power of the President to nominate two Anglo-Indian members to the Lok Sabha, and similar power of Governors to nominate one Anglo-Indian member to the Legislative Assemblies in the states. Sources have also made it clear that quota for the Anglo-Indian community has been done away with for now.
The provisions extending the reservation to Anglo-Indian members was unreasonable and unjustifiable right from the time of its inception. Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava, who had suggested an amendment about the provisions concerning reservation during the Constituent Assembly debates, had emphasised that though small in number, Anglo-Indians were the most advanced community and in place or reservation, they were given the power of nomination. He made it clear that there was no reason why the provisions regarding the nomination of Anglo-Indian members should have been accepted for a period longer than 10 years. However, despite their advanced status, the provision was dragged along for seven long decades.
Nomination of Anglo-Indian members was nothing more than a vestige of the colonial rule. The colonial basis of reservation to Anglo-Indians is perfectly illustrated in Ananthasayanam Ayyangars opinion. The Constituent Assembly member who had come out in support of quota for Anglo-Indian community, had stated, “they (Anglo-Indians) were once part rulers of this country and therefore they should be shown some partiality for some time to come.”
With time, the nomination of Anglo-Indians came to be used in an undemocratic manner, as the ruling party often found a way to manipulate numbers in the house by nominating an Anglo-Indian member of the choice. Such a practice was particularly detrimental when the numbers in the House went down to the wire. In such cases, even one member can make all the difference when it comes to proving the majority of the government.
TFIPOST had already pointed out the futility of the quota to the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies, and now the Modi government seems all set to dismantle yet another historical blunder as the nation readies itself to get rid of the colonial burden 72 years after independence.