MICHAEL VAZ, MERCES
In the very preamble of our Constitution there is emphasis on assuring equality of status and of opportunity, which thrills us to the fullest. Yet when we analyse our practical life we realise the hurdles that we have to encounter repeatedly, may be while getting admissions to professional courses despite performing excellently in entrance exams or while trying to get a decent job after admirable performance at the degree level and when waiting for a promotion after rendering exceptional service for years. Even worse is the fact that one cannot even feel secure from being arrested for no fault of his. True, I am stressing on the reservation policy imposed and steadfastly clung to by governments of all hues. We admit that for all the humiliations inflicted on scheduled caste/scheduled tribe (SC/ST), their progress was suppressed and the framers of the Constitution bestowed special privileges on them for a certain period of time but not indefinitely. But what do we see today? Not only that the reservation policy is ever strengthened but even the laws to protect the SC/ST people are being misused by them to target innocent people. Is this what we call equality before law? To check instances of abuse by the SC/ST community and avoid false implications of the guiltless, the Supreme Court had ruled that a preliminary enquiry is to be conducted before the case is registered and that a public servant can be arrested only with the permission of the appointing authority. But there were wild protests from the Dalits which was amply supported by the opposition, contending that the SC/ST Act is diluted by the judgement. In our democracy the legislature can override the judiciary by passing a bill in Parliament.