New Delhi: Union minister Upendra Kushwaha on Thursday demanded reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the country's judiciary.
"Why can't people from lower caste occupy higher positions in the judiciary? Why is it that a chief justice is always from higher caste? Why can't we (OBC people) be in the higher ranks of judiciary? Hence, there should be reservation in the judicial system of the country," said the minister of state for human resource development.
In an indirect hint at the National Judicial Appointments Commission, Kushwaha said the judges didn't want government involvement in judicial appointments.
"Our government came out with a system where it could have a say in the appointment of judges. All political parties supported it. However, the court stayed the matter."
On the occasion of Ashoka Jayanti, he said the country would progress if people followed the path of Emperor Ashoka and not Lord Ram.
"Ram Raj se nahi, Ashok Raj se desh banega (The country would progress under Ashoka's teachings and not Ram's)," he said.
He said even Prime Minister Narendra Modi follows the principles of Buddhism.
"I don't want to go into details because that would politicise the issue. But it is true that even in the BJP, some senior leaders didn't want him (Modi) to become the prime minister," he added.
He also demanded that the name of Bihar capital Patna be changed to Patliputra to honour Ashoka.
"We have been raising this demand from various platforms over the years. The name should be changed to carry forward the legacy of Samrat Ashoka," he said.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, who was present on the occasion, said India was incomplete without Ashoka.
"India is incomplete without Ashoka and Buddhism. He spread love and harmony in the world. Even the government has no meaning without Ashok Chakra, the national emblem," he said.
Rijiju said it was important to follow the path shown by Ashoka to be called "true citizens of the country".
Meanwhile, the International Buddhist Confederation, the organisers of the Ashoka Jayanti celebrations, along with other national and international delegates, unanimously passed a resolution demanding that Ashoka Jayanti be declared a national holiday in the country.