What is the basic principle of reservation?

  • Jul 09, 2024
What is the basic principle of reservation?

The Basic Principle of Reservation From the discovery of America in 1492, the Europeans engaged in the act of colonization and domination over other peoples.

Affirmative action in the context of the Indian constitution is a reservation, which aims at bringing the backward sections of the society up. The idea used in implementing the reservation system revolves around offering the groups in question a fair chance and improving their numbers in education, employment, and governance. 

The Concept of Reservation: A Core Understanding

The concept of reservation is to bring the marginalized sections of society who are socially and educationally inferior and suppressed for ages. They were locked out from acceding to resources and facilities by a well-defined caste system that enforced a social stratification system. This system restricted the lower caste and tribes to the lowest level of society.

As such, the reservation seeks to address this existing inequality that has come to define the relationship between the two types of colleges. It seeks to empower that which is socially marginalized so that it can occupy its rightful place among society's structures. The reservation assists them in undoing what amounted to centuries of prejudice that hindered their advancement.

Constitutional Provisions For Reservation

The Constitution makers were fully conscious that it was not going to uplift the suppressed classes if they were provided with the same legal status in the Constitution. Hence, to empower these communities, provisions were made for their progress and were named the reservation policy. 

Again, Articles 15(4) and 16(4) mainly regulate the concept of reservations in the Indian context. They enable the state to provide special facilities for the upliftment of the socially and educationally backward classes such as Scheduled Castes (SC) & Scheduled Tribes (ST). This allows for reservation for the historically excluded groups based on quota in employment in public sectors, schools, and parliaments among others.

I also want to note the fact that the constitution does not prescribe anywhere the required percentage for reservation benefits. It allows the state to have discretionary power on the determination of the criteria as well as the percentage using other data that may be deemed relevant. The Supreme Court has also upheld the principle that the overall quantum of reservation should not exceed fifty percent, though the condition stated that it may be possible in special circumstances.

Different Reservations in India

Currently, four broad categories of reservation are implemented in use today -

1. Caste-based Reservation: This type of quota is for the SCs and STs notified under Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution based on factors such as untouchability, backwardness, vulnerability of tribes, etc.

Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe:

This is a constitutional provision that is generally used at times when reservations were given to some groups mentioned in articles 341 & 342 based on untouchability, backwardness, vulnerability of

2. Reservation for Other Backward Classes: Although the Mandal Commission was specifically concerned with the upper castes, it also pointed out Other Backward Classes (OBC) as a backward section within the upper caste and recommended 27% quotas for them.

3. Income-Based Reservation: Some states have taken the policy to the next level by adding the parameters of income and property ownership to get more people under their reservation. The Supreme Court has endorsed income as the only residual criterion for reservations. 

4. Reservation for Women: To enhance the representation of women in elected institutions seat reservations are done in local self-government institutions, in state assemblies, and parliament.

Some of the main issues that the police attempted to address include:

The history of the reservation policy has seen multiple amendments and progressions: The history of the reservation policy has seen multiple amendments and progressions:

1. 1950 - A clause in the constitution concerning the reservation of seats for SCs and STs was added under Article 15(4).

2. 1951 - the first central reservation policy which specified 22. 5% reservation for the SCs and STs.

3. 1953 - opening of reservations in states practiced by southern states Tamil Nadu and AP.

4. 1975 - In a bid to resolve the crisis, the reservation was removed in AP, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab but was again reinstated later.

5. 1980 - Mandal Commission gave legal recognition to OBC as a new backward class in the country that could avail of the quota system for castes. 

6. 1990 - I came into power and V P Singh introduced an additional 27% for OBC based on the Mandal recommendations.

7. 1992- The 73rd & 74th Constitutional Amendments enabled the PP for women's reservation with 33% in local bodies.

8. 2019- Ten percent quota for the economically backward upper castes brought into the constitution through the 124th amendment.

As much as there are various reasons why the government should discontinue the policy of reserving employment opportunities for the disabled, there are also many reasons why this policy should continue.

1. The Rationale for Reservation: Continuation of Caste Discrimination - Despite some social reform movements, there are cases of discrimination and atrocities suggesting the existence of a rigid caste system that justifies reservation.

2. Absence of Proportionate Presence - It is a well-known fact that in many areas of life, whether it is in educational institutions or government jobs, SC, ST, and OBC sections of the population are underrepresented as compared to their population percentage. 

3. Socio-economic Backwardness -The provisions of the items for reservation refer to communities that still have low levels of literacy and economic status and require the support of the state. A large number of them are still dependent on human power, they never reach for resources that are needed for development.

At the moment, reservation is an important instrument for the development of India in the socially and economically broad sense. It strives to establish a society that is leveled where everyone has a fair chance of accessing opportunities regardless of one's status in society. However, for a lasting change in social structure that will ensure that everyone is treated fairly without discriminating against them, change must begin from within society by rejecting any negative attitude that discriminates individuals based on identified groups. Another area that warrants attention is the principle of equality that is provided for in the constitution should be embraced as a culture by the general population.

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