In India, reservation is a form of affirmative action taken by the government to provide education and jobs to those people who have faced historical injustice and are deprived of basic facilities due to their caste identity.

Initially, the reservation was provided only for Schedule Cast (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST). But after Independence, some critical changes were made for the SC, ST, and OBCs. One of them was in 1979 when the Mandal Commission was constituted. This Commission access the situation of the socially and educationally backward classes. In 1991,  the implementation of the Mandal Commission Report extends the concept of reservation  OBCs.

Reservation is a welfare tool used for providing education and jobs to the oppressed ones, on the basis of their caste. It facilitates access to seats in educational institutions and government jobs.

Need for a reservation:

It is a needful act for those people, who work hard with an aim to achieve their goal but are deprived of proper facilities on the ground of their belonging to a particular background. It provides them an opportunity to step up in their life.

Reservation encourages the people, who do not have access to proper facilities especially in the field of education.

Misuse of reservation policy:

It is one of the initiatives taken by the government to curb the foul play. And, it also curbs the social discrimination done with the above mentioned explicit classes. It is also considered as a legislative arrangement done for minorities in the public arena and helps in hoisting the backward classes. While on another side of the coin, the reservation has been implemented in India for the last 70 years and is still in continuation. Nowadays, we have witnessed many instances where the people even after having enough facilities to achieve their dream still avail the reservation in education and employment. Whereas, the people who, though belongs to the General Class but are economically weak fail to achieve their dreams or goals despite their hard work. Therefore, it’s high time to modify or amend the criteria for reservation before it losses the ideology for which it is implemented.

Reservation as a Fundamental Right:

Recently, the Supreme Court the matter of Mukesh Kumar vs. the State of Uttarakhand observed that said that the reservation of seats in the field of education and employment, provided to certain communities is not a fundamental right. There is no fundamental right to claim reservation in public jobs & no courts can order a State Government to provide for reservation to SC/STs.

But it is not mandatory for the state State Governments to make reservations. There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions. The Court said that Article 16 which provides reservations in favour of SC/STs is enabling provisions. And, also held it as vesting discretion on the State Government. But a State Government cannot be directed to provide reservations for appointments or promotions in public posts.

Constitutional Provisions for Reservation in Education and Jobs:

  • Article 15(4) and Article 16(4) of the Indian Constitution states that there shall be no discrimination on grounds of caste, religion, race, sex, place of birth, or any of them. Whereas the said provisions do not prevent the government from making any special provisions in matters of admission to educational institutions or jobs in favour of the backward classes, particularly the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  • Article 16(4A) allows reservations to SCs and STs in promotions, as long as the government believes that they are not adequately represented in government services.

At last,

The Supreme Court in the matter of Indra Sawhney (1992), Court fixed the upper limit for the combined reservation quota that the Reservation in total should not exceed 50% of seats. Recently in the year 2019, the103rd Constitution Amendment Act was passed which empowered both the Centre and the States to provide a 10% reservation to the Economic Weaker Section (EWS) category of society in government jobs and educational institutions.


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