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The need for review of the caste based reservation system in India

This article discusses about the need to revise the current reservation policy in India.
Our Constitution ensures equity and fairness of chance to every one and so it turns into an obligation of state to make a move to accomplish this goal.Constitution also recognizes that equal opportunity means competition between equals and not unequal’s. The constitution creators perceived the disparity in our social framework and contended that the weaker area (the individuals who are unequal's) have to be dealt with on a preferential footing by the state. So different article of constitution forces this obligation and offers capacity to the state to make law for the assurance and advancement of the weaker and backward sections of the society.

“Reservation system” in India are the governmental policies regarding minorities in society or “positive segregation”, it alludes to an approach or program, or giving certain priorities to specific groups (underprivileged groups) over the others. The approach of reservations is being utilized as a system to conquer segregation and go about as a compensatory work out. A substantial segment of the general public was truly denied right to property, training, business and social equality as a result of the act of untouchability. With the end goal to make up for the verifiable disavowal and have shields against discrimination, we have the reservation system.
It is an affirmative action because it reduces tha gap between upper caste and lower castes. In India, the caste system and the arrangements of reservation strategy go as an inseparable unit. Indian social framework is a caste based hierarchical framework. The lower position individuals were constantly abused by the general population from high castes and they needed to endure the negative marks of financial underdevelopment. The goal of reservation is to inspire the weaker segments of society, that is those individuals who are being separated by the higher class and they are discriminated on the basis of social and financial grounds. The constitution not just discusses elimination of discrimination against any native yet it likewise offers capacity to the law making body to make laws that can give special treatment to weaker segments of the general public in a method for reservation in legislature, employment and educational institutions.

The Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) are the principle recipients of the reservation arrangements under the Constitution, the goal of which is to guarantee a level playing field. It has improved the condition of backward classes to greater extent.

Impact of Reservation policy in reducing caste inequality:

Various cases of violence have been reported against Dalits in recent years. They are subject to exploitation since earlier times.A famous incident was of Phoolan Devi’s exploitation by the upper caste people. Phoolan Devi was born in a small town of Uttar Pradesh where girls were like burden. Like every low caste girl who are to work for the upper caste families, she was married at an age of eleven years to a heartless man in his thirties in return for a bovine. In the wake of being assaulted by her husband for many years, she some way or another figured out how to escape from her spouse and joined a gang of bandits. Later, after a battle she was assaulted by upper caste bandits. She was secured up in Behmai,a village of Thakurs.For about fourteen days, a gathering of Thakur assaulted Phoolan, on numerous occasions until the point that she lost her consciousness.Later she herself became the gang leader and took the revenge. This shows her story of courage by not getting suppressed by upper caste people. Another case like this was reported on February 29, 2016.Raju Bairwa, a schedule caste was called to help in marriage arrangements at his village in Rajasthan. His spouse discovered him by the riverside extremely injured. The culprits had placed sand in his mouth, so he wouldn't have the capacity to scream. Later he died. The family had been hassled and debilitated for a long time over a land dispute in spite of the fact that they legally possessed the land which was in question with upper caste villagers.

So, the crime against Dalits have not yet stopped but reservation system has contributed to a large extent in reducing caste inequality and changing the mentality of the society. Reservation is considered a Positive discrimination. As in the olden days, lower castes were badly harassed and discriminated. To uplift the lower castes and give them equal opportunities reservations are must. When there are two parties which are not equal then it is not fair to treat them equally. The existing situation of inequality has to be removed first. How to do it? The most disadvantaged among the two has to be provided with a positively discriminated treatment so that they can make use of the opportunity to become equals. Hence, Reservations in case of Sc/St are inevitable for a rapidly developing nation like ours. Reservations reflect the principle of "EQUALITY" enshrined in the Constitution. People do rise from worst circumstances in life to reach respectable position due to reservations. Not all people who take reservations lack merit/talent but they didn't have resources to work hard. When they were studying in candlelight nobody came with a bulb. Reservation compensate them for unequality in their resources to achieve their aim. It gives voice to the oppressed classes and show them a path to progress. Thus, it helps in removing the inequality among different castes by bringing them at same level with other upper castes. So, Seats are reserved in Lok Sabha for SC&ST so that they get a chance of decision making and present their views and ideas on different aspects of society. Because they had been deprived of these right for centuries.

Poor people cannot afford to send their children to school because the opportunity cost of sending the children to school is very high as they make valuable contributions to the household economy. These children since their birth have seen financial problems in their families and they also want to provide a good standard of living to their family.They can’t even afford coachings or give fees of big institutions. So, the reservation policy has given a hope to such category to pursue good education by getting seats reserved for them at various job and college entrances thereby they can improve the economic status of their families. It has been effective also as there are many citizens who are dalits or Obc’s and are excelling in various fields like Kalpana Saroj, IIaiyaraja.

This policy is framed for the betterment of backward classes but no one can ignore its disadvantage because it defeats meritocracy that is accessibility of options to the most capable and deserving candidate.So reservation system is an affirmative action but only to the extent, it is not exploited.

But with the passage of time, we have deviated from our initial goal of introducing the reservation policy.

# Division of the society-It leads to the division of the society into various castes. Today we stand partitioned generally into Hindu, Muslim, SC, ST and OBCs with more current reservations coming up for other distinctive sections. We are a secular nation and uniformity is must for secularism to endure. Partitioning the populace based on castes and religions has never given any benefit to the country.

# Caste based not economic based-Reservation on an economic basis is a much more pragmatic outlook in a nation like India as it was introduced with the motive of uplifting the weaker sections of the society. In light of the fact that if there should be an occurrence of economic based reservation framework, all individuals who are poor will get reservation regardless of their castes as neediness does not choose individuals based on their caste and henceforth if country's needs to bring correspondence between citizens then it ought to select economic based reservation as opposed to caste based reservation. In the case of Balaji v. State of Mysore it was held that ‘caste of a person cannot be the sole criteria for ascertaining whether a particular caste is backward or not. Determinants such as poverty, occupation, place of habitation may all be relevant factors to be taken into consideration. The court further held that it does not mean that if once a caste is considered to be backward it will continue to be backward for all other times. The government should review the test and if a class reaches the state of progress where reservation is not necessary it should delete that class from the list of backward classes.

# Discourages the other category people-The biggest disadvantage of reservation system is that it gives reservation to people in competitive exams or government job entrances on the basis of caste and not on merit. This disheartens the people from general category as they could not get the seats in their dream colleges or Jobs in spite of hardwork. What hurts them more is that a person from reserved category securing less marks gets the seat in same college. When poor people from general category who worked really hard for a Job entrance cannot clear a paper inspite of getting good marks, they become depressed or sometimes they even commit suicide. For instance, Tina Dabi who belonged to a middle class SC family topped UPSC's civil services examination in 2015. Her mother Himani Dabi is an engineer while her father, Jaswanth Dabi is working with the Department of Telecom, also as an engineer. No doubt that she has inspired a millions of civil services aspirant but regardless that we respect her and yet we feel frustrated about the general population like Ankit Srivastav who scored 230.76 in Civil Services( Preliminary Examination) and still they were not ready to show up in mains examination. A basic inquiry which emerges is if Tina Dabi can top in the wake of getting 195.29 in pre then for what reason Ankit Srivastav can't top after getting 230.76. So, reservation policy sometimes benefit those who don’t even need it and at same time it takes the opportunities from people belonging to general category

# Used for benefits- Individuals don't wish to work and take advantages of their caste hard because they know that they will get a job anyway. This is degrading the quality of workforce and hampering the growth of India. People likewise get phony certificates to take the advantage of reservation. Indeed, even lawmakers utilize it as a powerful instrument to win more votes. They divide the general public to their benefit into vote banks.Due to reservation, government officials get opportunity to play with feelings of individuals by utilizing it as tool for winning elections and not utilizing it for the advancement of the general population of the nation.

Reservation policy was initiated for the upliftment of lower caste people and so it is a positive discrimination. It has been effective to a great extent but with the passage of time ,this policy has been exploited by the politicians, creamy layer among lower caste people. So this policy to be an affirmative action needs to be reviewed. By giving reservations, the members of the constituent assembly wanted to bring changes in the way lower caste people are treated in the society so that they can avail equal opportunities like upper caste people. So it was adopted as an affirmative action. But now, the scenario has changed and amendment are needed in this policy for the betterment of the society as a whole.

Written by: Divya Vishal, National University of Study and Research in Law

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