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-Divya Singh

“EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all” these are the lines that are mentioned in the Preamble of our country, which means that everyone is equal before the eyes of our constitution, irrespective of their gender, caste, religion, and creed.

What is reservation system?

Reservations in Indian law is a form of affirmative action whereby a percentage of seats are reserved in the public sector units, union and state civil services, union and state government departments and in all public and private educational institutions, except in the religious/ linguistic minority edu­cational institutions, for the socially and educationally backward communities and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (SC\ST) and other backward classes (OBC), Who are inadequately represented in these services and institutions. The reserva­tion policy is also extended for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) for representation in the Parliament of India.

The concept behind the Reservation system

Its origin has its roots scattered from the ancient times when the practice of ‘untouchability’ and Varna system was dominant in the society. In ancient times, the Hindu society was divided on the basis of Varna, Jatis or classes – the Brahmans, the Kshatriyas, the Vaisyas and the Shudras. There was another class of people or rather no class people known as “untouchables” or “avarna” that is who has no class. These untouchables were considered to be impure for the society and were excluded from the social system. They had to reside outside the village and had no social rights. The then prevalent caste system was a major reason for implementing the Reservation Policy in India. The idea of giving reservations to a certain class of people originated because of the prevalent atrocities being done on the certain class of people. To give them an equal opportunity, an equal status in society, to uplift them socially, to bring them at par with other sections of society and moreover to bring development in the lower strata of society, were the reasons for the adoption of Reservation Policy in India.

After India gained independence, the Constitution of India listed some erstwhile groups as Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). The Constitution laid down 15% and 7.5% of vacan­cies to government aided educational institutes and for jobs in the government/public sector, as reserved quota for the SC and ST candidates, and further reservations in promotions were also provided respectively

Impact on the general category

This caste based reservation is suffocating the general candidates, by snatching away their chances. According to the Supreme Court’s decision, more than 50%reservatio can’t be given. But undoubtedly, many SC, ST and OBC candidates are very much talented and such candidates occupy the general seats. Hence the chances of a general candidate for a good education or a job in a government institution decrease even more. For example, Tina Dabi, who cleared the UPSC CSE-2015, she became the topper, not because of reservation but merit. Her marks were so high that she was counted as a general candidate in her final result, thereby decreasing a seat for the general candidate from the remaining 50%.

Current scenario

This reservation policy has a huge impact on the youth of our nation. It is also responsible for the creating a feeling of hate among different castes. This system has also started to interfere with the political structure of our country, in order to gain the support of the lower classes; the political leaders support this reservation policy in order to maintain their ‘vote bank’. Furthermore, this is the violation of our basic human right, which is equality.

Last month, Supreme Court banned automatic arrests and registration of criminal cases under the SC\ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989, a legislation meant to protect the marginalized communities from abuse and discrimination. Further, the government said that the judgment has created a sense of confusion and the verdict may have to be corrected by reviewing the judgment. This triggered widespread criticism from the Dalit community, which was followed by a protest throughout the nation. This has become such a sensitive topic in our nation, that if even an attempt would be made to amend this policy, it would lead to social unrest.

Do we still need it?

First of all, let me start by stating that reservation is an ‘unfortunate’ system, because of the existence of the caste system, which is the reason for reservation. Caste is an unfortunate and ugly truth in Indian society. People use the low cut-offs of reserved categories, to show how unfair it is for the general category students and how easy it is to enter into a good institution or get a job for people who get the benefits of reservation. But they comfortably omit the fact that the seats reserved for SCs and STs mostly remain unoccupied and still the major percentage of lower caste people are poor.  In India, dozens of sewage workers (most of them being Dalits), die while working because of the poisonous gases and thousands of farmers commit suicide every year, but you can see how these two tragedies are treated differently. While people mourn about the death of farmers while, no one gives a damn about the sewage workers, So you see, it’s not just a few well-to-do people from the reserved category that get benefits from reservations, as people tend to think. There are people who can leave this life of second-grade citizens with the help of reservation. However the removal of the ‘creamy layer’ from the reserved category would be a justified move as they don’t need reservation.

Reservation is a necessity. It is necessary to give more chances to people from lower groups so that they have some representation in the society which is otherwise dominated by upper groups to maintain the balance and give oppressed a place in the society.

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