Reservation in India
The system of reservation in India is comprising series of measures, such as reserving access to seats in the various legislatures, to government jobs, and to enrollment in higher educational institutions. The reservation nourishes the historically disadvantaged castes and tribes, listed as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribes (SCs and STs) by the Government of India and also those designated as Other Backwards Classes (OBCs). The reservation is undertaken to address the historic oppression, inequality and discrimination faced by those communities and to give these communities a place. It is intended to realise the promise of equality enshrined in the Constitution.
The Constitution prohibits untouchability and obligates the state to make special provision for the betterment of the SCs and STs. Over the years, the categories for affirmative action, also known as positive discrimination, have been expanded beyond those to the OBCs.
Reservation is governed by the Constitution, statutory laws, and local rules and regulations. The SCs, STs and OBCs, and in some states Backward Classes among Muslims under a category called BC(M), are the primary beneficiaries of the reservation policies. There have been protests from groups outside the system who feel that it is inequitable.
The primary objective of the reservation system in India is to enhance the social and educational status of underprivileged communities and thus improve their lives.
Quota systems favouring certain castes and other communities existed before independence in several areas of British India. Demands for various forms of positive discrimination had been made, for example, in 1882 and 1891. Shahu, the Maharaja of the princely state of Kolhapur, introduced reservation in favour of non-Brahmin and backward classes, much of which came into force in 1902. He provided free education to everyone and opened several hostels to make it easier for them to receive it. He also tried to ensure that people thus educated were suitably employed, and he appealed both for a class-free India and the abolition of untouchability. His 1902 measures created 50 per cent reservation for backward communities.
The British Raj introduced elements of reservation in the Government of India Act of 1909 and there were many other measures put in place prior to independence. A significant one emerged from the Round Table Conference of June 1932, when the Prime Minister of Britain, Ramsay MacDonald, proposed the Communal Award, according to which separate representation was to be provided for Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, and Europeans. The depressed classes, roughly corresponding to the STs and SCs, were assigned a number of seats to be filled by election from constituencies in which only they could vote, although they could also vote in other seats. The proposal was controversial: Mahatma Gandhi fasted in protest against it but many among the depressed classes, including their leader, B. R. Ambedkar, favoured it. After negotiations, Gandhi reached an agreement with Ambedkar to have a single Hindu electorate, with Dalits having seats reserved within it. Electorates for other religions, such as Islam and Sikhism, remained separate. This became known as the Poona Pact.
After the independence of India in 1947 there were some major initiatives in favour of the STs, SCs and after 1980s in favor of OBCs.(Other Backward Castes). The country's affirmative action programme was launched in 1950 and is the oldest such programme in the world.
A common form of caste discrimination in India was the practice of untouchability. SCs were the primary targets of the practice, which was outlawed by the new Constitution of India.
In 1954, the Ministry of Education suggested that 20 per cent of places should be reserved for the SCs and STs in educational institutions with a provision to relax minimum qualifying marks for admission by 5 per cent wherever required. In 1982, it was specified that 15 per cent and 7.5 per cent of vacancies in public sector and government-aided educational institutes should be reserved for the SC and ST candidates, respectively.
A significant change began in 1978 when the Mandal Commission was established to assess the situation of the socially and educationally backward classes. The commission did not have exact population figures for the OBCs and so used data from the 1931 census, thus estimating the group's population at 52 per cent. In 1980 the commission's report recommended that a reserved quota for OBCs of 27 per cent should apply in respect of services and public sector bodies operated by the Union Government. It called for a similar change to admissions to institutes of higher education, except where states already had more generous requirements. It was not until the 1990s that the recommendations were implemented in Union Government jobs.
The Constitution of India states in article 15(4): "Nothing in [article 15] or in clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens of or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes." Article 46 of the Constitution states that "The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation."
The Supreme Court of India ruled in 1992 that reservations could not exceed 50 per cent, anything above which it judged would violate equal access as guaranteed by the Constitution. It thus put a cap on reservations. However, there are state laws that exceed this 50 per cent limit and these are under litigation in the Supreme Court. For example, in the State of Tamil Nadu the caste-based reservation stands at 69 per cent and applies to about 87 per cent of the population.
Reservations in elected bodies
In parliament, caste and tribe based reservations are provided to make it more representative.. Today, out of 543 seats in India's parliament, 84 (15.47%) are reserved for SC/Dalits and 47 (8.66%)for ST/Tribes. Allocation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the Lok Sabha are made on the basis of proportion of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the State concerned to that of the total population.
A similar percentage of exclusive seats has been provided for members of designated castes and tribes in each state legislature. Local self-governments have caste, tribe and gender based reservation system in place.
Reservations in employment
A fixed percentage of India's government and public sector jobs are made exclusive for categories of people largely based on their caste or tribe.
The 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the Indra Sawhney case said that reservations in job promotions are "unconstitutional" but allowed its continuation for five years. In 1995, the 77th amendment to the Constitution was made to amend Article 16 before the five-year period expired to continue with reservations for SC/STs in promotions. It was further modified through the 85th amendment to give the benefit of consequential seniority to SC/ST candidates promoted by reservation.
The 81st amendment was made to the Constitution to permit the government to treat the backlog of reserved vacancies as a separate and distinct group, to which the ceiling of 50 per cent did not apply. The 82nd amendment inserted a provision in Article 335 to enable states to give concessions to SC/ST candidates in promotion.
The validity of all the above four amendments was challenged in the Supreme Court through various petitions clubbed together in M. Nagaraj & Others vs. Union of India & Others, mainly on the ground that these altered the Basic Structure of the Constitution. In 2006, the Supreme Court upheld the amendments but stipulated that the concerned state will have to show, in each case, the existence of "compelling reasons" - which include "backwardness", "inadequacy of representation" and overall "administrative efficiency - before making provisions for reservation. The court further held that these provisions are merely enabling provisions. If a state government wishes to make provisions for reservation to SC/STs in promotion, the state has to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class.
In 2007, the Government of Uttar Pradesh introduced reservation in job promotions. However, citing the Supreme Court decision, the policy was ruled to be unconstitutional by the Allahabad High Court in 2011. The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court, which upheld it in 2012 by rejecting the government's argument because it failed to furnish sufficient valid data to justify the move to promote employees on a caste basis.
Reservations in education
In India scholarships or student aid is available for—SCs, STs, BCs, OBCs, women, Muslims, and other minorities. Only about 0.6% of scholarships or student aid in India is based on merit, given the grossly inadequate representation of above mentioned categories in employment and education due to historic, societal and cultural reasons.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) provides financial assistance to universities for the establishment of Special Cells for SC/STs. The cells help universities implement the reservation policy in student admission and staff recruitment processes for teaching and non-teaching jobs. They also help the SC/ST categories integrate with the university community and help remove the difficulties SC/ST individuals may have experienced.
New rules implementation of UPA Government do not provide scholarship scheme and reservation quota of students and employees of colleges under central University and State University approved by the UGC.
Beneficiary groups of the reservation system
The quota system sets aside a proportion of all possible positions for members of a specific group. Those not belonging to the designated communities can compete only for the remaining positions, while members of the designated communities can compete for either reserved or open position.
Seats are reserved for people under the following criteria:
According to the Dharma Shastras in Hinduism, the society can be divided into four categories based on the birth and occupation of the family, a person is born into.
Brahmins Kshatriyas Vaishyas Sudras Casted Based reservation - Background in India In central-government funded higher education institutions, 22.5% of available seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students (7.5% for STs, 15% for SCs). This reservation percentage has been raised to 49.5% by including an additional 27% reservation for OBCs. This ratio is followed even in Parliament and all elections where a few constituencies are earmarked for those from certain communities (which will next rotate in 2026 per the Delimitation Commission).
The exact percentages vary from state to state:
- In Haryana, the reservation is 20% for SCs, 16% for backward class A, 11% for backward class B, 10% special backward class, 10% economically backward in open caste and 3% for physically handicapped (70% total), based on local demographics.
- In Tamil Nadu, the reservation is 18% for SCs, 1% for STs, 20% BC and 30%MBC (69% total) based on local demographics
- In Jharkhand, the reservation is 11% for SCs, 27% for STs and 22% OBC (60% total) based on local demographics.
- In Maharashtra, the reservation is 13% for SCs and 7% for STs, 32% OBC (52% total) based on local demographics
- In Karnataka, the reservation is 15% for SCs and 3% for STs, 32% OBC (50% total) based on local demographics
- In Kerala, the reservation is 8% for SCs and 2% for STs, 40% OBC (50% total) based on local demographics
- In Uttar Pradesh, the reservation is 21% for SCs and 2% for STs, 27% OBC (50% total) based on local demographics
- In Bihar, the reservation is 15% for SCs and 1% for STs, 34% OBC (50% total) based on local demographics
- In Madhya Pradesh, the reservation is 16% for SCs and 20% for STs, 14% OBC (50% total) based on local demographics
- In Rajasthan, the reservation is 16% for SCs and 12% for STs, 26% OBC (54% total) based on local demographics
- In Northeast India, especially in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram, reservation for ST in State Govt. jobs is 80% with only 20% unreserved. In the Central Universities of NEHU(shillong) and Rajiv Gandhi University, 60% of seats are reserved for ST students.
- In Andhra Pradesh, 29% of educational institutes and government jobs are reserved for OBCs, 15% for SCs, 6% for STs.
- In West Bengal, 35% of educational institute seats and government jobs are reserved for SC, ST, and OBC (22% SC, 6% ST, 7% for OBC A & B). In West Bengal there is no reservation on religious basis but some economically and educationally backward Muslim castes (basis surnames pertaining to different profession e.g. cobbler, weaver etc.) have been included along with their Hindu counterparts in OBC list namely OBC A and OBC B, in both lists caste from both communities are there. But in higher educational institutes, till now there is no reservation for the OBC community but there is reservation in regard to admission in primary, secondary and higher secondary studies
The Women's Reservation Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 9 March 2010 by a majority vote of 186 members in favour and 1 against. As of March 2013, the Lok Sabha has not voted on the bill. Critics say gender cannot be held as a basis for reservation alone other factors should also be considered e.g. economic, social conditions of woman candidate especially when applying reservation for educated women. There also is a growing demand for women reservation in pre-existing reservations like OBC, SC/ST, physically handicapped etc. Some groups still demand that reservation for women should be at least 50 per cent as they comprise 50 per cent of the population.
In Gujarat, 33% of posts are reserved for females in all government departments and services, such as police, health, education and general administration.
There is no reservation granted on the basis of religion in the Central educational institutions at the national level, although reservation has been extended to religious minorities in some states. The Tamil Nadu government has allotted 3.5% of seats each to Muslims and Christians, thereby altering the OBC reservation to 23% from 30% (since it excludes persons belonging to Other Backward Castes who are either Muslims or Christians).
The Government of Andhra Pradesh introduced a law enabling 4 per cent reservations for Muslims in 2004. This law was upheld by the Supreme Court in an interim order in 2010 but it constituted a Constitution bench to look further into the issue. The referral was to examine the constitutional validity of quotas based on religion. Kerala Public Service Commission has a quota of 12% for Muslims. Religious minority (Muslim or Christian) educational institutes also have 50% reservation for Muslim or Christian religions. The Central government has listed a number of Muslim communities as backward Muslims, making them eligible for reservation.
The Union Government on 22 December 2011 announced establishment of a sub-quota of 4.5% for religious minorities within the existing 27% reservation for Other Backward Classes. The reasoning given was that Muslim communities that have been granted OBC status are unable to compete with Hindu OBC communities. It was alleged that the decision was announced as the Election Commission announced Assembly elections in five states on 24 December 2011. The government would not have been able to announce this due to the model code of conduct. On 12 January 2012, the Election Commission stayed implementation of this decision for violation of the model code of conduct. Later, Justice Sachar, head of the Sachar Committee that was commissioned to prepare a report on the latest social, economic and educational condition of the Muslim community of India, criticised the government decision, saying "Such promises will not help the backward section of minorities. It is like befooling them. These people are making tall claims just to win elections". He suggested that instead of promising to give reservations, the government should focus on basic issues of improving administration and governance.
On 28 May 2012, the Andhra Pradesh High Court quashed the sub-quota. The court said that the sub-quota has been carved out only on religious lines and not on any other intelligible basis. The court criticised the decision: "In fact, we must express our anguish at the rather casual manner in which the entire issue has been taken up by the central government.
RESERVATIONS IN THE THEN MADRAS PRESIDENCY, AND THE PRINCELY STATES LIKE MYSORE AND KOLHAPUR
1. THE PRINCELY STATE OF KOLHAPUR
As a Result of Jyothibha Phule’s Works, Reservations were Introduced in 1902, in the State of Kolhapur, by the then King – Sahu Maharaj, though his Cabinet Protested.
The brahmins like Tilak, claiming themselves to be Social and Political Leaders, and going around, arrogantly behaving calling themselves to be the Indian Bourgeoisie, protested. Sahu Maharaj pointed out to them, the need necessity and States Responsibility to Develop the Backward Communities, especially the Criminal Tribes like the Baeds, Nayaks, Pindars, who considered killing one Tilak Bearer, was equal to the Good Deed of Feeding Hundred People!
Reservations were then introduced, in the neighbouring States of Mysore, Madras and Bombay Presidency, and also in Cochin and Trivandrum. Those Reservations were the Reasons for the overall Development, Literacy, Education, Efficiency, and Economic Progress of the Southern States.
2. PRINCELY STATE OF MYSORE
The History and Evolution of Reservations in the Princely State of Mysore, is interesting. Reservations in the State in Independent India, and Post State Reorganisation Karnataka had seen many the ups and downs and Road Blocks, and in the process contributed to the evolving future of Social Justice in the Country and World!
British took over the Reins of the State of Mysore, in 1831, after the Fall of Tippu Sultan in Srirangapatnam. British ruled Mysore directly, till 1881. A Representative Assembly was Constituted for the Mysore State, after Rendition of the State to the King. That was the first State Assembly and Legislative in the Country.
After the Rendition of the State of Mysore to the King, a Dewan was Appointed to Assist the Mysore King. It so happened that all the Dewans appointed in the initial years were only from the then larger Madras Presidency – Tamil or Telugu brahmins. That was naturally an irritant, and the Mysore brahmins, resented that domination of the brahmins from Madras Presidency, in the affairs of the Princely Mysore State everywhere – in the Services, Appointments, and Education. The Tamil and Telugu brahmins were there everywhere, especially in Maharaja’s College, Mysore.
The Maharaja of Mysore, in 1910, conceded the Demands of Mysore brahmins, and Appointed Visweshvaraiya a brahmin Engineer of Mysore, as the first Dewan from Mysore. This in turn opened the gates of domination by the Mysore brahmins – 100% in higher services, and 82% in all jobs.
Representations to the Mysore brahmins, their growth and domination in all the State Services and Education, gave raise to strong Voices of Protest by many of the then Backward Classes, and Claims for Reservation to BCs. The Lingayats, Muslims, Mudaliars, Veera Saivas and Vokkaligas were in the forefront of the Demand for such Reservations. In fact, they Demanded an end to all brahmin Monopoly.
Important Backward Castes, had in fact, started in 1905 Veera Saiva Education Society, and their Mutts opened their Schools; and in 1906 Vokkaliga Sangha started their own Schools and Hostels. The King also ordered opening of Non-Vegetarian Messes in Govt Colleges and Hostels. This small step, went to a long extent in greatly helping the meat eating backward classes to have higher education.
Having conceded the demands of Mysore brahmins for Representation in Services, and Appointment of Visweshvaraiya as Diwan, the King saw no Reason in denying the Demands, and refusing Reservations to Backward Classes. The King, in 1918 Appointed Millers Committee, headed by Mr Miller, Chief Justice of the High Court of Mysore to look into the Claims of BCs. In protest, Vishwesvaraiya resigned from his position as Dewan. Miller after examining the Demands of BCs, in his Report submitted in 1919, Recommended Reservations for the BCs.
CJ Miller Recommended –
1. Seventy-five percent Reservations
2. Time Bound Target to Achieve at least 50% share of Jobs to BCs!
3. Appointments not on the basis of Marks, but on the crucially important Characteristics of Sincerity, Honesty, Courage and Compassion
4. Fellowships and Scholarships for BC Students
5. Free Sites and Land grants for Schools and Hostels
The Maharaja agreed with the Chief Justice Miller, and provided Reservations for the BCs. The BCs in Mysore then meant, everyone other than the BAEs – brahmins, Anglo-Indians and Europeans. Muslims also got the Reservations. And the Reservations provided for the Muslims in Mysore, continues in Karnataka till date, though it is made to appear a very big Controversial Issue, elsewhere in other States in the Country today.
The Reservations for BCs so upset the brahmins, that even the Representative of Mysore brahmins Vishwesvaraiya, in Protest, resigned and left his Office of Dewan of Mysore.
The Reservations for the Backward Classes, brought about considerable changes in the social fabric of the then Mysore State. It rightly loosened the Grips of the brahmins, to a considerable extent. But, it sadly benefited powerful backward classes like the Vokkaligas, who took large and undue benefits from the Reservations for the BCs. Added to that, in the Name of Economic Backwardness, influential brahmin communities with the right connections, and powerful BCs with good contacts and better influences forged ahead, particularly during the Decades of Planned Developments, after Independence. These distorted and skewed Developments, created a lot of Social Unrest in the State with the Most Backward Classes, demanding Justice.
With Reorganisation of the States in 1956, Karnataka was formed by amalgamating the Five different Regions of Kodagu, Madras Karnataka, Hyderabad Karnataka, and Bombay Karnataka with the old Princely Mysore State. That required many Administrative Adjustments. Those, and other Interventions of the Courts like that in Balaji Case Judgement, had badly and sadly derailed the journey towards Social Justice, and stalled the overall Development of an Equitable and Egalitarian Society in Karnataka.
The Chief Minister of Karnataka, Devraj Urs in 1972, constituted the first Backward Classes Commission – Havanur Commission.
Havanur Commission had Judicial Powers, to –
1. call and summon anyone and take evidence
2. examine any document
Havanur submitted the Commission’s Report in 1975, and said that Reservation –
1. is not for full Employment
2. is not a Programme to Abolish Poverty
Havanur Commission said that, the only Objective of Reservation is to Provide Representations to Backward Classes, for ensuring Participation and achieving Equality between Castes, and providing Jobs for all the Communities and Castes.
If the Royal Millers Committee of Princely State of Mysore, headed by the Chief Justice was the first in a State, Havanur Commission had clearly brought out, stated, and established the basis and foundations, on which are laid out the Principles, on which the entire edifice of Reservations Raise!
3. MADRAS PRESIDENCY
Mahatma Jyothibha Phule’s Pioneering Work, had its impact beyond his State, and created Waves of Ripples all over the Country, particularly in the Southern States and the adjoining Bombay Presidency.
The Non-brahmin Movement in the Madras Presidency, grew into a very big powerful Social and Political Force. The Non-brahmin Movement in the Madras Presidency, was then spearheaded by the Justice Party of Madras Presidency. They were all along agitating against the brahmin Domination in the State. Realising the Monopoly of the brahmins in Education and Jobs under the British Rule, they started to Demand for the Shares of Non-brahmins in Education and Jobs.
The Works of Justice Party of Madras Presidency, had its wide impact on the People. Hence, when the Provincial Elections were held in the Country, it was the Justice Party that won the Elections in Madras Presidency.
The Madras Presidency, then spanned virtually the whole of Southern India – covering many parts of the present day Kerala and Karnataka, almost the whole of the present State of Tamil Nadu, most Parts of Andhra’s Rayala Seema Area and the whole of the Coastal Area then stretching into the present day Orissa up to Berhampur.
The Justice Party, which won the Elections in Madras Presidency, assumed Power of Provincial Governance in the Presidency, on 17th December 1920. Making use of the Political and Administrative Power of Governance in their hands, the Justice Party issued a GO No 613 on 16th September 1921. That GO of Madras, popularly known as the Madras Communal GO, apportioned all available Opportunities – full 100 Percent, under the Control of the Provincial Government, amongst all the identified Block of Communities. The No of Jobs and Percentage of the Share apportioned, to the identified Communities, in a block of 12 Jobs were –
1. Non-brahmin hindus 5 Opportunities 44 Percent
2. The brahmins 2 Opportunities 16 Percent
3. Muslims 2 Opportunities 16 Percent
4. Anglo-Indians and Christians - -
5. Depressed Castes (SCs) 1 Opportunity 8 Percent
Total Jobs 12 Opportunities 100 Percent
One can see that the brahmins got an high percentage of Opportunities – 16%, but were definitely confined to only 2 out of 12 Jobs, or one sixth of the Opportunities. That was naturally, very strongly resented by the predatory brahmins, and the Implementation of the GO was effectively blocked by them from being enforced. However, they had to ultimately yield later, and the GO was enforced in 1929. Implementation of this Roster of Opportunities during the 30s and 40s, opened up the Gates of Opportunities to many Non-brahmin Communities, but sadly resulted in a few dominant non-brahmin castes with wealth riches facilities advantages and their own powers, monopolising most of the Opportunities of Education and Jobs, for the Non-brahmin hindus.
Periyar EV Ramasamy Naicker, or Periyar EV Ramasamy, popularly known as EVeyRa, or EVR or Periyar, or Periyar EVR, or as EVR Periyar highlighted this new monopoly, and made a powerful Demand to allocate separate Share to the hindu Backward Castes. At last, in 1947, during the Time of the then Premier of the Madras Presidency – Omandur P Ramasamy Reddy, a friend of EVR Periyar, who held Periyar in high Esteem and Regard, Periyar EVR had his way.
A new Communal GO was issued in 1947, apportioning all the Positions afresh, in a Block of 14 Positions, to Six Categories of identified Communities –
1. Non-brahmin hindus 6 Positions 44 Percent
2. Backward Caste hindus 2 Positions 14 Percent
3. The brahmins 2 Positions 14 Percent
4. Depressed Castes (SCs) 2 Positions 14 Percent
5. Anglo-Indians and Christians 1 Position 7 Percent
6. Muslims 1 Position 7 Percent
Total Jobs 14 Positions 100 Percent
Then also, it could be seen that, the brahmins got an high percentage of Opportunities – 14%, and they along with the Non-brahmin hindus, as a block of DCHs got away with a very high 58 % – 14 plus 44 percent. But they were all confined to only 8 Positions, 2+6 Positions out of 14 Positions, or more than half of the available Opportunities. Now it is the same 2% brahmins and their other 7 % DCH Friends and Lawyers, who are protesting and fighting against Reservations, particularly that for the OBCs, and demanding an unreasonable Cap of 50% to all Reservations. So unjust unreasonable and intolerable are the brahmins and the DCHs.
It was that Communal GO, which saw some SCs adorn High Offices and Positions, such as the Mayors of the Corporation of Madras, and in many other Important Positions, in the then Madras Presidency.
It was that same GO, which was Challenged in the Champagam vs State of Madras, and was Struck Down by the High Court of Madras, and the same negation was also upheld by the Apex Court in Delhi. The Case was that, a Girl named Champagam could not get a Medical Seat to get Admission in a Medical College for a MBBS Course in the State of Madras.
Interestingly, the Case Champagam vs State of Madras, was not filed by the concerned girl Champagam at all. But, it was done by the intolerant brahmin communities. It was that Intolerance of the brahmin communities, the brahmin leaders, the brahmin advocates and lawyers, the brahmin courts, and the brahmin judges, which Resulted in the First Constitutional Amendment, right in the Year 1951 itself. That, to the Constitution of India, adopted so solemnly with lots of Promises to the People of India, only on the 26th November 1949, and brought into right effect and Force wef 26th January 1950. Thus we see a clear pattern and sequence, in the series of brahmin intolerances, chain of subversive activities, and brahmanic sabotage against all the Social Development, Educational Progress, and Economic Growth of the Nation. Then, there can be no Doubt for the overall Backwardness of the Country.
Here we must also Note that, a similar Problem of a DCH handicapped MBBS Doctor, not Managing an Admission to an MD Course of Studies in Gujarat, triggered the Caste and anti-Reservation Protests in Gujarat, and other neighbouring States in the Eighties.
Those Anti-Reservation Protests ended, only with the shock waves produced by Meenakshipuram Conversions in Tamil Nadu, where a Couple of Families, both Men Women and Children, fed up with the caste hindu intolerance oppression and atrocities converted themselves to Islam, and became free Muslims. That, in fact reportedly spurred the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi, who had earlier empathised openly with the DCH Doctor, and the anti-Reservation Agitation; and had reportedly observed that Reservation is a Crutch, and that it had gone too far; to wakeup, and get into action. Thus, the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi, was forced to come out, at least in the Public, on to the sides of SCs and STs, and stand behind the Reservations for SCs&STs. Not only that, but it is reported that she called up many heads of the Religious Matts to do something for the SC&ST Dalits to keep them trapped within the so called hindu influence and under the brahmin control, and not let them go out towards the Muslims, or even the ways of Baba Saheb Dr BR Ambedkar. She feared that, while the first would strengthen the Pan-Islamic Movement across the World, the later would do more damage in weakening the brahmin power and survival. This had made many hindu religious matts take up some social health and educational programmes for SC&ST Dalits, with State Funds under the cover of promoting Peoples Movements, Voluntary Organisations and NGOs. Sadly that had not only kept the SC&ST Dalits, but many BCs also trapped under the control of brahmins with a dangerous fascist fundamental agenda, specially directed against all Minorities, particularly against the helpless poor Muslims in the Country.
The situation now appears to be very hopeless for the SC&ST Dalits, what with the widening differences between the SC Dalits and ST Dalits; the gaps between significant groups of ST Dalits in different States developing into big gulfs; dangerous cracks appearing amongst various ST Dalit Groups within various States; and the unsavoury rifts between adjacent SC Dalit Groups even in Cities and right in the Work Places, Govt Offices and Educational Institutions. Added to that are the deliberate silent steps taken by the DCH Officials Politicians, Political Parties to weaken Reservations and turn it redundant. Increasing Liberalisation Privatisation, in the name of Globalisation, Opening up of the Economy, and Structural Readjustment; dismantling of PSUs, Banks, Insurance, Industries etc; shrinking Employment in the Public Domain; and restricting Reservations and its Scope with various black negative Orders and Court Decisions.
The above are all big threats no doubt, but are also potential Opportunities to Mobilise and Rally the SC&ST Dalits around Baba Saheb Dr Ambedkar’s Ideology. The present helpless situation offers a big opportunity for the SC&ST Dalits, to realise and rightly understand in full, the brahmin subversions and sabotages. The SC&ST Dalits thus have an opportunity to get enlightened, and free themselves away from the brahmanic controls. Can the SC&ST Dalits then emerge free, with an alternate agenda as a powerful political force on their own, with natural alliances with like minded backward classes like the MBCs and backward marginalised Minorities? In any case the contradictions amongst the DCHs, specially between the brahmins and vaishyas for domination, the competition for wealth between the vaishyas and kshatriyas, the antagonism over share in administration amongst the brhmins and the kayasths are unbridgeable, and are bound to burst out. That would throw out all the SC&ST Dalits, off on their own separate course with the MBCs and Minorities. That is inevitable. How the SC&ST Dalits, MBCs and Minorities are going to manage the Reservations, and the Movement towards Social Justice, Equity to begin with and Equality ultimately, brushing aside the selfish elements amongst themselves, only time will tell!
by: N. Manohara Prasad
Creamy Layer is Applicable in SC/ST Reservations, Says Supreme Court
The bench ruled that while the Presidential Lists may include any group or community as SC or ST, the principle of creamy layer can be applied by a court on the touchstone of equality among the same group or sub-group.
Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18.com
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that the concept of creamy layer shall be applicable in reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
A constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra held that a constitutional court is empowered to strike down any reservation meant for a creamy layer among the most backward classes.
According to the judgment authored by Justice Rohinton F Nariman on behalf of the bench, while the Presidential Lists may include any group or community as SC or ST, the principle of creamy layer can be applied by a court on the touchstone of equality among the same group or sub-group.
“The whole object of reservation is to see that backward classes of citizens move forward so that they may march hand in hand with other citizens of India on an equal basis. This will not be possible if only the creamy layer within that class bag all the coveted jobs in the public sector and perpetuate themselves, leaving the rest of the class as backward as they always were," noted the bench.
It pointed out that when a court applies the creamy layer principle to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, it does not in any manner tinker with the Presidential List under Articles 341 or 342 of the Constitution of India.
“The caste or group or sub-group named in the said List continues exactly as before. It is only those persons within that group or sub-group, who have come out of untouchability or backwardness by virtue of belonging to the creamy layer, who are excluded from the benefit of reservation,” added the bench.
The bench shot down a plea by the central government to do away with the concept of creamy layer among the SC/ST groups.
The court said that when Articles 14 and 16 are harmoniously interpreted along with other Articles 341 and 342, it is clear that Parliament will have complete freedom to include or exclude persons from the Presidential Lists based on relevant factors.
“Similarly, constitutional courts, when applying the principle of reservation, will be well within their jurisdiction to exclude the creamy layer from such groups or sub-groups when applying the principles of equality under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India," held the bench.
The court said it does not agree with the views of then CJI KG Balakrishnan in Ashoka Kumar Thakur's case that the creamy layer principle is merely a principle of identification and not a principle of equality.
The bench further turned down the central government's request to refer the 2006 M Nagaraj's judgment to a seven-judge bench for a reconsideration in so far as it laid down various conditions.
The court maintained that while the previous judgment was absolutely right in laying down the concept of creamy layer among SC/ST groups, it was incorrect to prescribe for a test of backwardness.
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes are the most backward or the weakest of the weaker sections of society, and are, therefore, presumed to be backward, said the bench, as it held that states will no longer require to collect quantifiable data to determine backwardness of these groups.
However, the bench affirmed the other two conditions laid down in M Nagaraj's judgment—quantifiable data on inadequacy of representation and overall administrative efficiency.
“We may make it clear that quantifiable data shall be collected by the State, on the parameters as stipulated in Nagaraj on the inadequacy of representation, which can be tested by the courts. We may further add that the data would be relatable to the concerned cadre," held the top court.
It emphasised that that “efficiency of administration has to be looked at every time promotions are made."
The bench also declined another plea by the central government to lay down that the proportion of SCs and STs to the total population of India should be taken to be the test for determining whether they are adequately represented in promotional posts.
The apex court clarified that it would be left to the States to determine adequate representation depending upon the promotional post that is in question.