Intellectuals, academicians and senior politicians strongly opposed the formation of Equal Opportunity Commission and said the term ‘equal’ in the proposed Commission is deceptive and communal. Therefore, it should be rejected on constitutional and administrative ground. The intellectuals included Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha Shri Karia Munda, noted economist Dr Bajranglal Gupt, senior journalist and columnist Shri Rajinder Puri and Shri Rakesh Sinha. They were speaking at a monograph release function organised in New Delhi on August 8. The monograph, Deceptive Equality: Deconstructing the Equal Opportunity Commission, is written by Shri Rakesh Sinha. It was published by India Policy Foundation.
Shri Karia Munda said there is no need of any Equal Opportunity Commission if we look at the facilities and rights granted to Muslims in the Constitution. “If the Muslims have failed to avail benefit of these rights and opportunities, it is because of their ignorance and illiteracy. It appears that what the government is doing is to appease them,” he said.
Former Union Minister Shri Arif Mohammad Khan said the democracy survived in our country due to the tradition of pluralism, which is not dated but is here since time immemorial. Though, he supported the constitution of Equal Opportunity Commission, he said it should not be only for a particular section of the society and any person who feels discriminated should have the right to approach it. He said only enacting laws are not enough, we need to change our habits also.
Shri Rajinder Puri said the whole exercise of the Equal Opportunity Commission is to grant reservation to Muslims. Ridiculing the system of reservation he said the time will come when all the people will have some or the other kind of reservation in the country. He said the policy of reservation completely failed to uplift the dalits and downtrodden and the country needs to find another alternative. Instead of caste-based reservation he suggested vocation-based reservation.
Dr Bajrang Lal Gupt said the Equal Opportunity Commission was constituted as per the recommendations of the Sachar Committee. He said the ambit of the Commission’s activities would be limited to Muslims for access of employment and education and no other group already identified as backward or suffering discrimination can approach it. Thus, the word ‘equal’ in the Equal Opportunity Commission is deceptive. He said this Commission, if constituted, would only promote division and inequality. “It is indeed an effort to snatch the opportunities of some people and transfer them to others, which is wrong. The policies should be framed on facts and not on perceptions. The Equal Opportunity Commission is going to be formed on deceptive perception. The topmost priority at this time should be to strengthen national integration and if any Commission or system works for disintegration of the nation, it must be rejected,” he said.
Shri Rakesh Sinha said the Britain’s Commission for Racial Equality was being touted as inspiration behind the Equal Opportunity Commission, but the expert committee on Equal Opportunity Commission suppressed the fact that Britain has rejected the Commission for Racial Equality and going towards an integrated Commission. He asked when there is a global trend towards integrated Commission why this wastage of resources on a separate Commission.