Rationalizing the reservation policy

Monday, 26 October 2020



Rationalizing the reservation policy

Bishaldeep Kakati | September 01, 2018 18:47 hrs

It’s a conspicuous fact known to one and all that the perspectives and characterization of education follow a basic policy, which is to engender the sense of being schooled and skilled in the mind of individuals. However, in reality, the cycle of education brings forward a series of events starting from the point where a normal individual adopts the vitals of education in order to be knowledgeable and skilled and ends at that particular point where he is capable of rendering some kind of service to the nation. In fact, like a nation wants an individual to bestow his or her service for the nation’s development, in the same way it also remains the dream of any individual to give his or her sweat and soul so as to help the country climb the ladder of success. But the sad fact is that in this rational ratio between an individual and his country, a particular constitutional mandate termed as the “Reservation Policy” is acting as a big hindrance. 


The background of reservation system in India has a direct connection to the caste system, which is prevalent in India since time immemorial. The recondite as well as the glorious Indian history narrates many accounts from where we can clearly perceive the fact that during the ancient times, there was a distinct division between the higher castes and the lower castes, where most of the time people of the lower castes were deprived from luxury and opportunity. Hence, to reduce the polarization between the castes and to bring the scenario to equilibrium the framers of the Indian Constitution laid emphasis on the concepts of equality.  Article 15 of the Indian Constitution clearly mentioned the fact that there won’t be any discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth and Article 16 further added the perspectives of equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. However, if we carefully analyze, we find that the reservation policy that the government adopted years ago, had a direction connection to Clause 4 of Article 15; that particular clause gave powers to the state or the government to implement laws for the benefits of the backward classes.


In fact, the reservation policy of education in India so started when, in 1954, the Ministry of Education suggested that 20 percent of the seats should be reserved for the SC and ST candidates in educational institutions, with a provision to relax the minimum qualifying marks for admission by 5 percent wherever required. Further in 1982, it was specified that 15 percent and 7.5 percent of vacancies in public sector and government-aided educational institutions respectively should be reserved for SC and ST candidates. And even though this particular reservation policy might have been really necessary 60 years ago on the grounds that the lower caste people were deprived from basic resources, necessities and luxuries, in the present context, it looks rather unreasonable today as most of the people belonging to the backward classes enjoy opportunities, luxuries and privileges equally as any other general person. So, by continuing with the reservation policy even in the modern era, the government, somewhere down the line, is itself violating Article 15 and Article 16 of the Indian Constitution.


Furthermore, in the present era, if the conscious government really thinks that people from the backward classes are deprived from basic necessities and resources, then they should really do something substantial for them by providing them quality education, books and all other stuffs rather than adopting the reservation policy. However if opposite is the case, then it directly means depriving some of the meritorious individuals who not only score higher percentage of marks than the reserved categories of individuals, but also have the potential to provide significant inputs for the development of the nation. Added to this, because of this reservation policy, the predicaments of educated unemployed have also increased in India. So the question that arises out of this is: Why can’t the rational India be logical enough to abolish the reservation system?


Moreover, even though Article 335 of the Indian Constitution says that the claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes should be given due importance, the Article also directs the government to consider the claims without disturbing the efficiency of administration. But currently most of the individuals in India are raising questions over the efficiency of the administration for continuing with the old reservation policy without effective amendments.


This entire deliberation of reservation policy in India has once again come into focus, especially after the news of reserved category of students failing to secure the minimum qualifying marks required to obtain a seat for MPhil or PhD under Delhi University. And this not only raises a question on the capacities of certain reserved category of students but also on the silent attitude of the Parliament of India, when the talk comes about changing the reservation policy. Hence it’s high time for the Parliament of India to enforce the 102nd amendment of the Constitution, with a motive to bring logical reformations in the reservation policy, without disturbing the sentiments of any individual.

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