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Reservation Policies of India


Reservations were introduced in India during the last decades of the nineteenth century, when the subcontinent could be divided into two major types of governance: British India and 600 princely states. Any of these states were forward-thinking, eager to modernise through the promotion of education and industry, as well as the preservation of the environment. The sense of belonging among their own people The awakening and development of the people in South and Western India piqued their interest of minorities and the poorest members of society.

One of the Constitution’s goals and objectives is to ensure equality of status and opportunity for all people, as well as to foster fraternity among them all while preserving the individual’s dignity and the nation’s unity and integrity[1]. It is worth noting that, since the right to equality and prohibition of discrimination against any citizen on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth were insufficient to make the basic human right meaningful to the weaker sections, the framers added additional provisions[2], namely, Articles 41, 45, and 46 of the constitution, requiring positive state action and allowing reservations in some areas in education[3]and in posts and appointments[4] in a manner consistent with the administration’s performance.

Article 334 originally provided for a ten-year allocation of seats in the House of People and state legislative assemblies for scheduled castes and tribes. However, by successive constitutional amendments, this reservation has been extended from time to time, all the way up to 2010 AD. Article 340 establishes a commission to study the situations of economically and educationally disadvantaged groups and make recommendations on how to improve their situation.

Both of these provisions are aimed at ensuring the rapid uplift of the nation’s poorer sections in order to ensure equality of status and opportunity, which will foster national fraternity, solidarity, and dignity. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar had stressed the importance of promoting social and economic equality in the constituent assembly debate in order to make democracy meaningful and workable.

There are two types of reservation in our Indian constitution:

Reservations in admissions to educational institutions

As reservations in posts and appointments in government offices.

India’s population was largely economically, educationally, and politically backward. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Groups are the three categories of backward people. The Government of India has established a quota system in which a percentage of positions in government and public sector units, as well as in all public and private educational institutions, but not in minority-run educational institutions, are reserved for the Backward Classes.

This system was created to help people who are behind the times.Socially and educationally disadvantaged groups, as well as scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, are underrepresented in government programmes and educational institutions. Reservations are also made available to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for inclusion in India’s Parliament.

India’s Reservation Policy In Historical Context-

India has evolved into a permanent machine that provides reservation to its citizens based on castes and faith, as well as social and educational backwardness, in order to garner the most votes.

There have been some significant historical incidents in India’s reservation policy they are:

When the British controlled India, there was a system of reservation in place.

In 1882, the Hunter Commission was created, and Mahatma Jyotirao Phule demanded free and compulsory education for all citizens, as well as government jobs.

In the state of Kolhapur, a notification in 1902 established a 50 percent reservation in services for backward citizens. This was India’s first notification establishing a quota for the welfare of backward people.

Reservation was implemented in 1908 to benefit the castes and cultures that played a role in the administration under British rule

The Government of India Act, 1909, also known as the Morley Minto Reform, made provisions in 1909.

The Government of India Act, 1919, included provisions for reservation in 1919.

In 1921, the Madras Presidency issued a government order granting non-Brahmins 44 percent quota and Muslims 16 percent.

Anglo Indian Christians have a 16 percent quota, while Scheduled Castes have an 8% reservation

The Government of India Act, 1935, included provisions for reservation in 1935.

Our Indian Constitution went into effect on January 26, 1950.

In the case of State of Madras v. Smt. Champcam Dorairajan[6], the court ruled that caste-based reservations were unconstitutional.

Infringes on India’s constitution, Article 15 (1).

The first constitutional amendment was enacted to overturn the above-mentioned decision and provision (4) of Article 15.

The Kalelkar Commission was formed in 1953 to investigate the condition of the socially and educationally disadvantaged.

In the case of Balaji v. Mysore[7], the Supreme Court set a 50% reservation ceiling in 1963.

Rajasthan has given 68 percent reservation, while Tamil Nadu has given 69 percent (under 9th Schedule)

The Mandal Commission was formed in 1979 to investigate the condition of socially and educationally disadvantaged people.

In its 1980 report, the Commission proposed that the current quota structure be changed.

Vishwanath Pratap Singh adopted the Mandal Commission’s recommendations in government employment in 1990.

The Narsimha Rao government implemented a 10% special quota for poor in 1991.

The 77th Constitutional Amendment of 1995 attached clause (4) (A) to Article 16 of the Constitution, granting reservation in promotions to SCs and STs.

In P. A. Inamdar & Ors. V. State of Maharastra held that

Profit technical schools, as well as minority and unaided private colleges.

The 93rd Constitutional Amendment was introduced in 2005 to guarantee the reservation scheme.

A Special Provision Has Been Made For The Promotion Of Backward Classes

Article 15 (4) of India’s constitution provides for the development of all socially and educationally backward people, as well as the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. As a result of the decision in the case of State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan[8], this clause (4) was inserted by the 1st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1951. The Madras government had reserved seats in state medical and engineering colleges for different communities based on faith, ethnicity, and castes in this case.

This was challenged in court because it was found to be in violation of Article 15 (1) of the Constitution. The state defended the legislation, claiming that it was passed to encourage social justice for all members of society, as required by Article 46 of the DPSP. The Supreme Court declared the law reserving seats on the basis of religion, race, and caste to be null and void.

The student was graded based on castes, faith, and other factors rather than on merit. To alter the impact of the preceding ruling Article 15 of the SC was revised, and clause (4) was inserted. The STATE is allowed under this clause to make special provisions for the development of socially and educationally backward people, as well as scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Article 15 (4) is merely a permissive clause that imposes no duty on the state to take any specific action. If required, the state has the authority to make reservations.

The commission for the backward classes was formed first-

Article 340, on the other hand, gives the President the authority to create a Commission to investigate the circumstances of the economically and educationally disadvantaged. In 1953, the President of India constituted the 1st Backward Classes Commission, which was chaired by Kaka Kalelkar, in accordance with Article 340 of the constitution. The commission may make recommendations to the federal and state governments on how to alleviate the problems that the socially and educationally disadvantaged face.

For the purpose of deciding the criterion to be used in determining whether any segment of the Indian population, other than SC and ST, is socially and educationally backward.

For the purpose of studying the working conditions of such groups and the gaps that exist between them.

For making recommendations to the Union or any state about how to overcome obstacles and improve economic conditions.

On March 30, 1955, the Kaka Kalelkar commission submitted its report. It had compiled a list of some of the commission’s recommendations, which were as follows:

Keeping a caste-by-caste population record in the 1961 census.

Considering all women to be a ‘backward’ class.

Seats for backward classes are reserved at 70% in all educational institutions.

Vacancies in all government services and local bodies should be reserved for OBCs.

Mr. Kaka Kalelkar, the commission’s chairman, was dissatisfied with the commission’s recommendation because the report was ambiguous. He sent a letter to the President opposing the commission’s recommendation. The commission’s report, however, was rejected by the central government because it did not use any objective tests to define the Backward Class.

The Mysore Government issued an order under Article 15 (4) in Balaji v. State of Mysore[10], reserving seats in the state’s medical and engineering colleges as follows:

50% of the population belongs to the backward and more backward groups.

Scheduled castes account for 15% of the population, and

Scheduled tribes account for 3% of the population.

As a result, 68 percent of the seats were reserved. The legitimacy of the order was questioned by a candidate who was denied entry. Under Article 15, the Court held that sub-classification by order between backward and more backward was not justified (4). It was also decided that backwardness could not be determined solely on the basis of “caste.” Backwardness must be both social and educational, not one or the other.

As a result, the government concluded that further research was needed in order to devise some workable criteria for identifying socially and educationally disadvantaged groups in order to provide them with all possible assistance.

Second Commission on Backward Classes

The Janata Party government (under Prime Minister Morarji Desai) agreed to create a second backward classes commission in 1979. Mr. B.P. Mandal, the chairman of the board, was known as the Mandal Commission.

For defining the socially and educationally disadvantaged classes, the Commission adopted the following criteria:and There are three types of criteria: social, educational, and economic.

In December of 1980, the commission submitted its draught. According to the study, OBCs made up about 52 percent of India’s total population, including Hindus and non-Hindus. The commission proposed a 27 percent reservation for OBCs. For a long time after the mandal report was submitted, no action was taken. The commission largely associated castes with the lower classes and largely ignored the economic test[11]

Following the backward class commission’s report, the issue of defining backward classes was brought before the Supreme Court in the case of Vasant Kumar[12]. The Supreme Court’s judges unanimously decided that “caste” could not be the sole determinant of backwardness

The author ends his work by stating that the oppressed groups cannot be able to remain oppressed indefinitely. The Indian Constitution forbids it. The reservation policy is a band-aid solution to the issue, not a long-term solution.a regressive attitude The government should take measures to ensure that reservation policy is properly implemented.The benefits are provided to those who are in need. In the case of SC/ST, the creamy layer definition should also be implemented.

The poorer parts of society should be granted special economic assistance first in order to survive, and then to reserve their seats. It is important to remember that the reservation can only be granted if the government is efficient in its administration, as Article 335 states that:

The argument of SC/ST shall be taken into consideration consistent with the preservation of administrative efficiency in the making of appointments to the services and posts in connection with the Union and States’ affairs.

In India, there are some issues with the quota policy that must be addressed as soon as possible. The author has disclosed such a problem as well as some possible solutions. The government should reconsider reservation policies and take appropriate action in order to ensure that they are implemented properly.


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