I noted in an earlier post (More on OBC quotas, May 9) that one reason why reservations arouse so much hostility is that they are seen to be permanent, not a temporary measure meant to enable some sections to overcome long-existent handicaps. You have the classic position of the oppressed turning oppessor and dominant groups within reserved categories reducing reservations to a naked grab for spoils.
In an article in today's ET, Bodhisatva Ganguli touches on this point:
Much more relevant is one of the questions posed by the SC’s division bench, as to whether reservations can continue indefinitely and whether the government has unfettered power to reserve any percentage of seats. The question to be answered is whether this amounts to a violation of the fundamental right to equality for those denied the benefits of quotas. Not even the most sophisticated pro-reservation argument is willing to clarify whether reservations will eventually end, particularly in states where they have been in place for many decades, or are they part of a stable permanent arrangement. Clearly, some indeed see it as a semi-permanent arrangement as revealed by remarks that OBCs have ‘waited’ 56 years for their due. But there has been no legal bar on OBCs competing on merit. Indeed, one striking aspect of the debate is the lack of data on how many members of the OBC communities have made it on merit to IITs and IIMs in the past.
Incidentally, Ganguli thinks that the chances are that the SC will eventually uphold the policy of OBC reservation in educational institutions.