By Prerna Tara, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun.

India is the main vote based system on the planet that made unequivocal protected also legitimate procurements for compensatory separation, famously known as reservations, for the progression of the truly discouraged and socially retrogressive areas of the general public. It has been striving to strike a harmony between its dedication to a larger origination of equity as far as essential opportunities and the objectives of compensatory segregation for pointed out ranks and groups. For the individuals who imagined that these two goals are contradictory, India demonstrated that such a course is not just plausible, however likewise something that fortifies the popularity based procedure itself. Over a long time, it has advanced a perplexing and extensive plan of reservations.

The interest for reservation initially developed in South India as a dissent against the imposing business model of Brahmins in the taxpayer driven organizations (Including the managerial work places under the royal stales.) The lower ranks were underestimated because of their instructive backwardness as well as because of their low societal position which was in light of the thoughts of custom immaculateness and impurity. The unbending and fixed rank structure ensured that the social and instructive backwardness was passed on to future eras.


Preference was given to Brahmins, not so much as for their claim of divine superiority as much as for the high rate of literacy among them. In India, preferential treatment takes the form of compensatory discrimination, i.e. those who are in a socially and educationally disadvantageous position due to past discrimination are given certain benefits to compensate for that discrimination in order that they may move towards a level playing field. The effect of this arbitrary process that afflicts the marginalized sections is sought to be softened by reserving seats in various institutions for the socially and educationally backward classes. The process first began in 1920 with the reservation of 28 of the 65 non-Muslim seats for non-Brahmins in the Madras legislature. [1]The non-Brahmin movement, under the auspices of the Justice Party managed to extract reservations in government jobs for non-Brahmins. The First Communal Award of 1921 extended the reservation, which till then was restricted to the revenue department, to all the government departments. However, efforts to have an All-India policy of reservation were not successful in the pre-independence era. It was only with the framing of the Constitution that such a policy was made possible. [2]

The soul of uniformity overruns the procurements of the Constitution of India, as the fundamental point of the organizers of the Constitution was to make a libertarian culture wherein social, financial and political equity predominated and uniformity of status and opportunity are made accessible to all. Be that as it may, owing to verifiable and conventional reasons, certain classes of Indian residents are under extreme social and monetary disabilities such that they can’t adequately appreciate either equality of status or of opportunities.

The Constitution of India states in Article 16(4): “Nothing in [Article 16] or in clause (2) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.” Article 46 of the Constitution states that “The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. The Constitution enjoins the state to make special provisions for the advancement of the SCs and STs and socially and educationally backward classes, and also for reservation of jobs in favour of these castes which are not adequately represented in the government services. In pursuance of the constitutional provisions the governments at the Union and state levels allocated funds for preferential welfare programmes for the SCs, STs and Other Backward Classes (OBCs); provided for reservation of seats in educational institutions and jobs in government and all other organizations aided or managed by the state. An outstanding feature of reservation policy in India is the reservations for the SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha, in the Legislative Assemblies of the states and in elected councils of local government. The number of jobs, seats and political positions for the SCs and STs is fixed in proportion to the population of the respective groups.

The 73rd amendment states clearly that reservation of  seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in extent to their populace for enrollment of Panchayats and office of Chairpersons in Panchayats at each one level; reservation of not short of what 33% of the seats for women. The 74th Amendment also discusses about reservation of seats in every Municipality- for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in extent to their populace of which at least 33% should be for ladies; for women which should at least 33% of the aggregate number of seats; in support of retrogressive class of residents if so gave by the Assembly of the State; for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and ladies in the workplace of Chairpersons as may be defined in the State law. The Supreme Court of India in its judgment in the Indra Sawhney v. Union of India held that the number of vacancies to be filled up on the basis of reservations in a year including carried forward reservations should in no case exceed the limit of fifty per cent. This was made applicable in the 75th Amendment.

The most vital expressed point of the Indian reservation framework is to help the open doors for enhanced social furthermore informative position of the underprivileged groups and, subsequently, permit them to take their evenhanded place in the ordinary of Indian culture. The reservation plan exists to give chances to the individuals from the SCs and STs to build their representation in the State Legislatures, the official member of the Union also States, the work power, schools, universities, and other “open” establishments.

The main intent with which the concept of reservation was put forth has not served its purpose. It can be stated that reservation was brought forth keeping in mind the socio-economic conditions of the country but politics ended up taking this effort into the wrong directions. The Kaka Kalc1kar Commission, constituted in 1953, listed 52% of the country’s population as deserving of the State’s protection on grounds of their low cute or tribal origins. It sent tremors through the country by recommending 70% reservations in medical and technical colleges and up to 50% reservations in government services. The Report was rejected by the central government which deprecated the use of caste as a category to determine backwardness.

The Second Commission, under the Chairmanship of B.P. Mandal also recommended an increase in the public sector reservations. The Report listed 3743 OBCs, which was 54.4%, of the Country’s population and recommended 27% quotas for Other Backward Classes, plus an additional 22.5% for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.[3]

There is a significant dissension between the idea of reservation in light of the standards of equity and reasonable balance, and the approach of reservation as grew by Indian legislative issues. The idea of reservation goes for decreasing the notable and social disparities and tries to give each individual the same ‘EQUAL START’ in life. Then again, the Indian arrangement of reservation is not having the capacity to essentially convey forward the philosophy with which the essential idea of reservation was brought into power. It gives off an impression of being more probable that the reservations are irreversible so long as the disparities among the ranks stay; till the number of persons from the saved groups is in the same extent in training also open work as their extent is in the aggregate populace. Once these extents are fulfilled, which is likely sooner rather than later, at any rate for a few stations, the ethical premise for reservation strategy will continuously dissolve. A realization will come that separation cannot be a lasting right nor the main answer for the issues of India’s social inequalities.

[1] S. Prakash, Reservation Policy for Other Backward Classes: Problems and Prospectives in V. A. PAI PANANDIKAR, Ed. THE POLITICS OF BACKWARDNESS, 13(1997).

[2] Article 330 and 332 place an obligation on the State to reserve seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies. Article 15(4), 16(4) and 16 (4A) expressly permit the State to afford preferential treatment to members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Thus, the Constitution allows for three kinds of preferential treatments- preferential electoral representation, preferential employment treatment with respect to education and welfare.

[3] Report on The Second Backward Classes Commission, Para 12.5, cited from S.S. AHLUWALIA, MANDAL REPORT (1990)