India has a diversified population that is split up according to caste,
religion, and ethnicity. Reservations in educational settings and government
employment are a topic that has been discussed for many years. Reservations are
a type of affirmative action used to give historically underrepresented groups
chances. Reducing social injustice and advancing social justice are the goals of
reservations. However, there is a great deal of debate concerning reservations
in India. This essay's focus is on the constitutional viability of racial
discrimination in public employment and educational institutions.
India's policy on reservations
In India, the Constitution of India's initial introduction of the
reservation provision was in 1950. Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs),
and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) are among the socially and educationally
disadvantaged classes of individuals who are eligible for special provisions
under Article 15(4) of the Constitution. Similar to this, Article 16(4) outlines
accommodations for various groups in public employment.
To lessen social inequality and advance social justice, the reserve policy aimed
to give chances to historically underrepresented groups. When these groups
attained parity with the rest of society, the policy was intended to be a
short-term solution that would be gradually eliminated. But despite the fact
that the policy has been in effect for more than 70 years, there is no sign of
it coming to an end.
India's reservation laws have changed over the years in a number of ways. OBCs,
who make up a sizable section of the population, should be given reservations,
the Mandal Commission suggested in 1990. When the recommendations were put into
practice in 1992, OBCs received a 27% reservation in public employment and
Reasons to Support Reservations
There are many justifications for reservations in public jobs and educational
institutions. The basic claim is that in order to advance social fairness and
lessen social inequality, reservations are required. Historical underprivileged
groups including SCs, STs, and OBCs have long endured prejudice and repression.
They can compete with the rest of society on reservations because they have an
equal playing field.
The fact that reservations contribute to the development of a varied and
inclusive society is another argument in their favor. Many times, one group
predominates in companies and educational institutions. Reservations aid in
removing these obstacles and fostering an inclusive environment. A more
productive and innovative society results from this.
In order to ensure that historically marginalized groups are represented in
positions of power, reservations are also important. These groups would be
without a doubt disregarded in the decision-making process and their opinions
would not be taken into consideration. The cycle of prejudice and oppression
would be continued in this way.
Rebuttals to Reservations
Additionally, there are several justifications against racial discrimination in
public jobs and educational institutions. The basic defense of reservations is
that they are unfair and go against the meritocracy ideal. The concept of
meritocracy holds that people should be rewarded on their accomplishments and
abilities rather than their social background. However, reservations priorities
particular groups based on their social backgrounds rather than their skills and
The fact that reservations cause division and promote social fracturing is
another argument against them. Reservations foster an "us versus them" mentality
and may cause hostility between various communities. Violence and societal
instability may follow as a result.
The last criticism of reservations is that they are a type of political
appeasement. Rather than using reservations to advance social justice,
politicians frequently exploit them to win over historically underrepresented
communities. As a result, many people believe that reserves are merely a
vote-bank strategy rather than an actual effort to combat social disparity.
Reservations' Constitutional Validity
The topic of whether reservations are constitutionally valid is one that has
been hotly contested for many years. Reservations are viewed, on the one hand,
as an essential step in addressing structural and historical injustices that
have marginalized specific populations. Reservations, on the other hand, are
criticized as discriminatory and a violation of the fundamental right to
equality contained in the Constitution.
Reservations are made for historically oppressed groups, such as Scheduled
Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes, under the Indian
Constitution. These reserves are meant to end the historical marginalization and
prejudice that these communities have experienced and to make sure that they
have access to political representation, jobs, and education.
The Supreme Court has repeatedly supported the validity of reservations as a
necessary mechanism to remedy historical injustices despite challenges to their
constitutionality in various courts. The court has, however, also set some
restrictions on the scope and duration of reservations and requested regular
reviews and reevaluations of their efficacy.
Reservations are criticized for fostering a culture of entitlement and
dependence as well as for encouraging retaliatory discrimination against other
populations. However, proponents of reservations contend that they are a vital
step in redressing historical wrongs and a successful strategy for advancing
equality and social justice.
In conclusion, the question of whether reservations are constitutionally
legitimate is complicated and subtle, and there are strong cases for both sides
of the argument. While the constitutionality and necessity of reservations have
been affirmed, it is nevertheless crucial to periodically review and assess
their efficacy to make sure they do not support discrimination or foster new
kinds of inequality. The ultimate objective should be to establish a society
that is genuinely just and equitable and that offers all of its member's equal
opportunity, regardless of their upbringing or social standing.
Written By: Kshitiz Kumar,
Shri Jainarayan Mishra P.G. College
(University of Lucknow)
Email: [email protected]