Minister laments ‘nil presence’ of SC, ST, OBC judges in higher judiciary

Minister laments ‘nil presence’ of SC, ST, OBC judges in higher judiciary
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NEW DELHI: Government of India minister Upendra Kushwaha Thursday lamented the “almost nil” presence of judges from SCs, STs and backward castes in higher judiciary, and said that the recent “spontaneous” protests of Dalits against an apex court order on SC/ST Act was a pointer to their “apprehensions” about the institution.
The chief of Rashtriya Lok Samta Party also announced a ‘Halla bol, darwaja khol’ (raise your voice, open the door) campaign to press for “rightful” representation of people from these communities, besides the poor and minorities, in the apex court and high courts.
The Supreme Court should give details of its judges’ background as people have a right to know, Kushwaha, whose party is an ally of the BJP, told a press conference and alleged that the judiciary may a be a strong pillar of democracy but “there is no democracy within it”.
“A tea-seller can become prime minister and children of daily-wagers can become IAS officers. The Supreme Court should come out with a white paper and tell us how many judges have come from poor families,” he said.
Referring to the recent violent protests by Dalit groups against an SC order which they said had diluted a law on prevention of atrocities against them, Kushwaha said such “nation-wide spontaneous protests” against a verdict of an apex court was a matter of concern. It shows their apprehensions, he said.
The apex court should not only give justice but also be seen to be giving justice, but it will happen only when all sections of society get representation there, he said.
Due to lack of representation, these communities do not have much faith in the judiciary, he said.
Not only do the people from Dalit, tribal and other backward classes (OBCs) have a negligible presence in the Supreme Court and high courts, but even deserving candidates from common families of general castes find it difficult to reach a judge’s position, Kushwaha said.
He cited a report on some Supreme Court judges to say that they came from families of judges or had influential kin.
Constituting an Indian judicial services on the lines of IAS and IPS is a way out as it will ensure reservation of people from SCs, STs and OBCs, he said.
His party will hold an event on May 20 as part of its campaign for more representation for people from weaker and poor sections of society in the judiciary, he said.
He also defended the Modi government against the opposition’s criticism of it following the SC order on the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Law, saying the Centre has strongly opposed the decision and filed a review plea.