In this article, we will discuss the basic elements of reservation in India in a simple and easy way and try to understand its various important aspects.

To say this is just a quota system, but the gradual development has made it so complex that the common man remains deprived of many aspects of it.

For the sake of understanding, this entire article has been divided into four main parts. This is the first part of it and in the other three parts we will look at the following aspects of it –

  1. Constitutional status of reservation in India [2/4]
  2. Evolution of Reservation in India [3/4]
  3. Roster System – The Mathematics Behind Reservation [4/4]

Along with this, we will also talk on many other topics related to this, the link of which you will get while reading the articles. Since the entire reservation system revolves around Fundamental Rights (especially the Right to Equality ), we suggest that you at least have a look at the Fundamental Rights for a better understanding.

भारत में आरक्षण

आरक्षण क्या है?

What is reservation?

Reservation is an affirmative action; For those caste, gender class or community who have not been able to join the main stream of the society due to any reason. 

The Constitution empowers the Central Government, State Government and Union Territories to determine the quota or reserved seats for certain classes or communities in admission, appointment or promotion and in Parliament and Legislature etc. 

WeArticle 14If we look at (right to equality), there are two terms in it, first,equality before the law(equality before law) and second,equal protection of laws(equal protection of laws).

‘Equality before the law’ affirms that no one is above the law and that all are equal before the law. The drawback in this theory is that it gives equal value to the poor-rich, educated-uneducated, resourceless-resourceful etc. and discourages giving any privilege in favor of anyone.

But ‘equal protection of the laws’ really refers to doing something in one’s favor to bring about equality. Because it is well known that the society in which we live is unequal, and to establish equality in that inequality, it is necessary that something special should be done in favor of the downtrodden, exploited, uneducated and backward class of the society.

The steps taken by the government to do something special in favor of these people are called affirmative action , and reservation is a part of this affirmative action.

🔹Article 15If read, it clearly says that India will not discriminate against any of its citizens on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of these. The word ‘only’ has been used here i.e. India can discriminate on any basis other than religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth. For example, suppose a person is physically disabled, then such person can be discriminated against on the basis of disability.

And obviously it is done, you can see that in hospitals, schools, colleges, etc., ramps are made for the differently abled. So such discrimination is called positive discrimination.

🔹Article 15(3)If read, it clearly says that the state can make special provisions in favor of women and children. Governments also do such things as giving maternity leave to women, running child nutrition programs etc.

[Articles 15(4), 15(5) and 15(6) are also related to affirmative action or reservation, but we will discuss this further]

🔹Article 16If read, it says that there will be no discrimination of any kind in the employment or appointment under the state. But if one reads Article 16(2), it says that the state shall not discriminate against its citizens in employment or appointment on grounds only of religion, race, caste, ancestry, place of birth, sex and residence.

Here also the word ‘only’ is used, that is to say, employment or appointment can be discriminated on the basis of anything other than those seven things. Governments also do this, for example, persons with disabilities get reservation in employment or appointment.

🔹Article 16 (4)It clearly states that the state may, if it so desires, make arrangements for reservation in posts or appointments falling within the state in favor of the backward class citizens, if the state feels that their representation is not adequate in the state services. . So the meaning of saying is that this article is the reason for the reservation in jobs.

Apart from this there are Articles 16(4A), 16(4B), 16(5) and 16(6) which establish many other important aspects regarding reservation. We are going to understand all these paragraphs further.

Till now you must have understood that what is reservation and where it is mentioned in the constitution. Let us now know the answers to some important questions.

Q.Which people, classes or communities get reservation?

According to the original constitution, under Article 330 and 332, reservation was made for SC and ST in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha. And also, under Articles 15 and 16, the backward classes (including women and children), a system like reservation was approved.

Today SC, ST, OBC and EWS community mainly get the benefit of reservation. (There is also a system of 10% reservation for Economically Backward Classes (EWS) from the year 2019.) The reservation that these people get is called vertical reservation . 

Apart from this, women, differently-abled and third gender also get the benefit of reservation. The reservation that these people get is called horizontal reservation . 

[Understand in detail – What is Vertical and Horizontal Reservation ] 

Mainly reservation in India is available to four communities, Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Economically Weaker Sections (EconomicallyWeakerSaction). 

The system of reservation for ST and SC was largely started after independence. Whereas reservation for OBCs is available after accepting the recommendations of Mandal Commission in 1992 and reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) since the 103rd Constitutional Amendment was passed in 2019. 

  1. Scheduled Castes (SC) andScheduled Tribe (ST) Who is it?Articles 341 and 342 define who is a Scheduled Caste (SC) and a Scheduled Tribe (ST) respectively.
    Articles 341 and 342 state that – (1) The President may, with respect to any State or Union territory, where that State is a State , after consultation with the Governor thereof , by public notification, those castes, races or tribes (Tribes) or part thereof or group thereof. who for the purposes of this Constitution shall be deemed to be a Scheduled Caste (SC) and a Scheduled Tribe (ST) in relation to that State or Union Territory. 
    (2) Parliamentreserves the right to, by law, include in the list of any caste, race or tribe or part thereof or group thereof, the Scheduled Castes specified in the notification issued under clause (1) can be excluded. 
    There is a commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. For more information about SC and ST follow the given link.

    Read from here – National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)
    Read from here – National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST)
  2. Who is the Other Backward Classes (OBC)?OBCs have basically not been a part of reservation. The Constitution used to support it, but the immediate official reason for this is the Mandal Commission; Which was established in 1979 by the Janata Party government of Morarji Desai. 
    And we can find the basis behind the formation of this commission in Article 340 which says – “A commission may be constituted by the President in the interest of socially and educationally backward classes.” 

    Mandal Commission in 1931. By taking the help of census (except SC and ST), those castes were identified which were socially and educationally backward. These were 3743 in number and today they are expanded into about 5000 castes and sub-castes. 
    However, through the 102nd Constitutional Amendment, a definition has been given for OBCs (like SCs and STs) under Article 342 ‘A’,That which says – (1) The President may, in relation to any State or Union territory, where that State is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, declares socially and educationally backward classes or parts thereof or groups thereof. may specify. who for the purposes of this Constitution shall be deemed to be an Other Backward Caste (OBC) in relation to that State or Union Territory. 
    (2) Parliament has the right to include in the list of socially and educationally backward classes or part thereof or group thereof, the OBCs specified in the notification issued under clause (1) or exclude from it. 
    Like SC and ST, a commission has also been constituted for this, for more information about OBC must read this article.

    Read from here – National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)
  3. Who is the Economically Backward Class (EWS)?The poor or economically weaker sections of the general categories are included in EWS. It was tried to provide reservation in 1991 by the government of PV Narasimha Rao, but at that time the Supreme Court did not support it. It has been established by the 103rd Constitutional Amendment of 2019 and is currently running.
    Remember here that there is no separate commission for this.

Remember here that the commission for SC and ST was constituted under Article 338 and 338 ‘A’. With the help of the 102nd Constitutional Amendment 2018, a new part named Article 338 ‘B’ was added to the Constitution, under which the National Commission for Backward Classes was constituted.

Why is reservation given?

It is a simple question that if the Constitution has given equal status to all, then what is the need of giving reservation? As the main reason for this is unequal society. We did not get this society in its egalitarian form, but we got the reins of an unequal society.

In such a situation, negative equality (which talks about equal law for all and no privileges of any kind) was not going to work. Because from this a vicious circle grows and remains backward, remains backward and remains forward, forward. Staying forward, there is no problem with this, but bringing backward in the mainstream is the main responsibility of a welfare state and also the demand of socialist democracy. 

That is why in Article 14 you get a term “equal protection of laws”. Which is positive in itself and has a sense of giving. Reservation is also a system which has a sense of giving something. And have a sense of giving till they become a part of the mainstream of the society. (We have discussed about this above as well.)

Under this, a particular class or caste can also be given preference in an area and the same castes or classes can also be given a Quota (fixed seat) in that area. Usually what we call reservation is this Quota system. You will understand how it is.

Why Scheduled Caste (SC) was given reservation in India?

Under the SC, those sections or castes of the society are identified which were considered at the lowest rung in the caste system. And the work which was considered the smallest in the society was considered assigned to him. Such as manual scavenging, laundry etc. That is why these castes suffered the most untouchability. In independent India, these people could be brought into the mainstream, that is why the SC category was given reservation. 

, Why Scheduled Tribes (ST) were given reservation in India?

Under ST, those castes of the society are identified who for some reason live in forests or mountains away from the main society and adopt the primitive culture. We usually also call it Aboriginal or Nomadic. So that they could mix in the mainstream society, that is why there was a need to give reservation to them too. 

, Why Other Backward Classes (OBC) get reservation in India?

Under OBC, a class is identified which has relatively not suffered untouchability and generally did not live far from the main society like tribal, yet for some reason they remained socially and educationally backward. It is called Other Backward Class or Other Backward Classes only because, except SC and ST, these are people who are backward.

These people share half the population of the country’s population. That is why, following the recommendations of the Mandal Commission, the then government announced OBC reservation in 1990-91. [What this whole thing is, let’s understand it further.] 

, Why are reservations given to women, differently-abled and transgender etc.?

Reservation to these people or communities, generally because of their social status, or the narrow and conservative view of society towards them, and due to lack of proper status or respect in the society; Get. However, remember that the reservation given to these people is of horizontal type. What this happens is explained further. 

, Why do Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) get reservation?

In 1991, the government of PV Narasimha Rao took the initiative of giving 10% separate reservation to the poor or economically weaker sections of the general categories. But at that time the Supreme CourtIndira Sawhney caseRejected the demand for reservation on economic grounds. In fact, the basic logic behind this reservation is that even among the upper castes, the condition of everyone is not good, there are people who are in poverty, misery or suppressed by their own people. 

In 2019, through the 103rd Constitutional Amendment, the BJP government announced to give 10 percent reservation to the economically backward classes, which is still going on. 

So overall till now we have understood those aspects in the context of reservation in India which is at the core of reservation. Now further we will explore the constitutional aspects of reservation in India and understand what is the constitutional or legal basis of reservation in Panchayat and Municipality, reservation in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha, reservation in jobs, admission in colleges and universities etc.

आरक्षण का संवैधानिक आधार[2/4]
आरक्षण का विकास क्रम[3/4]
आरक्षण के पीछे का गणित यानी कि रोस्टर सिस्टम[4/4]
एससी, एसटी और ओबीसी के लिए आरक्षण पर सरकार की नीति क्या है?

अखिल भारतीय आधार पर सीधी भर्ती के मामले में अनुसूचित जाति, अनुसूचित जनजाति और अन्य पिछड़ा वर्ग के लिए खुली प्रतियोगिता में क्रमशः 15%, 7.5% और 27% की दर से आरक्षण दिया जाता है। खुली प्रतियोगिता के अलावा अखिल भारतीय आधार पर सीधी भर्ती के मामले में, अनुसूचित जाति, अनुसूचित जनजाति और अन्य पिछड़ा वर्ग के लिए आरक्षण क्रमशः 16.66%, 7.5% और 25.84% है। Group सी और डी पदों पर सीधी भर्ती के मामले में जो आम तौर पर किसी इलाके या क्षेत्र से उम्मीदवारों को आकर्षित करते हैं, अनुसूचित जाति / अनुसूचित जनजाति के लिए आरक्षण का प्रतिशत आमतौर पर संबंधित राज्यों / केंद्र शासित प्रदेशों में अनुसूचित जाति और अनुसूचित जनजाति की आबादी के अनुपात में तय किया जाता है।

अनुसूचित जाति/अनुसूचित जनजाति के लिए क्या छूट उपलब्ध हैं?

सीधी भर्ती में अनुसूचित जाति और अनुसूचित जनजाति के लिए उपलब्ध छूट इस प्रकार हैं: –

a) ऊपरी आयु सीमा में पांच वर्ष की छूट:

b) परीक्षा / आवेदन शुल्क के भुगतान से छूट;

c) जहां साक्षात्कार भर्ती प्रक्रिया का एक हिस्सा है, वहां अनुसूचित जाति / अनुसूचित जनजाति के उम्मीदवारों का अलग से साक्षात्कार किया जाना चाहिए:

d) यूपीएससी / सक्षम प्राधिकारी के विवेक पर अनुसूचित जाति / अनुसूचित जनजाति के उम्मीदवारों के संबंध में अनुभव के संबंध में योग्यता में छूट दी जा सकती है;

e) उपयुक्तता के मानकों में ढील दी जा सकती है। 

अनुसूचित जाति/अनुसूचित जनजाति के लिए प्रोन्नति में जो छूट उपलब्ध है वह इस प्रकार है:-

a) विचार के सामान्य क्षेत्र (normal zone of consideration) के भीतर उपयुक्त अनुसूचित जाति / अनुसूचित जनजाति के उम्मीदवार उपलब्ध नहीं होने की स्थिति में रिक्तियों की संख्या के पांच गुना तक विचार क्षेत्र बढ़ाया जाता है। 

b) न्यूनतम अर्हक अंक/मूल्यांकन के मानकों में छूट दी गई है;

c) ऊपरी आयु सीमा में पांच वर्ष की छूट दी जा सकती है जहां पदोन्नति के लिए ऊपरी आयु सीमा पचास वर्ष से अधिक नहीं होनी चाहिए, आदि।

ओबीसी को क्या छूट उपलब्ध है?

ओबीसी को सीधी भर्ती में उपलब्ध छूट इस प्रकार है:

(i)  ऊपरी आयु सीमा में 3 वर्ष की छूट।

(ii) सक्षम प्राधिकारी के विवेक पर अनुभव संबंधी योग्यता में छूट दी जा सकती है।

(ii) उपयुक्तता के मानकों में ढील दी जा सकती है, आदि।

एक स्व-योग्य (own merit) उम्मीदवार कौन है?

अनुसूचित जाति / अनुसूचित जनजाति / अन्य पिछड़ा वर्ग से संबंधित एक उम्मीदवार जो सामान्य श्रेणी के उम्मीदवारों के लिए आवेदन के समान मानक पर चुना जाता है और जो सामान्य योग्यता सूची में उपस्थित होता है, उसे स्व-योग्य उम्मीदवार माना जाता है। ऐसे उम्मीदवार को आरक्षण रोस्टर के अनारक्षित बिंदु के विरुद्ध समायोजित किया जाता है।

आरक्षित श्रेणी के व्यक्ति के एक राज्य से दूसरे राज्य में प्रवास के मामले में क्या दिशानिर्देश हैं?

जब कोई व्यक्ति राज्य के उस हिस्से से प्रवास करता है जिसके संबंध में उसका समुदाय अनुसूचित है, उसी राज्य के दूसरे हिस्से में, जिसके संबंध में उसका समुदाय अनुसूचित नहीं है, तो उसे अनुसूचित जाति का सदस्य माना जाता रहेगा या अनुसूचित जनजाति या अन्य पिछड़ा वर्ग, जैसा भी मामला हो।

जब कोई व्यक्ति जो एक राज्य से दूसरे राज्य का सदस्य है, तो वह केवल उस राज्य के संबंध में अनुसूचित जाति या अनुसूचित जनजाति से संबंधित होने का दावा कर सकता है, जहां से वह मूल रूप से संबंधित था, न कि उस राज्य के संबंध में जहां से वह प्रवास कर चुका है।

आरक्षित स्थान खाली रह जाने की स्थिति में क्या अयोग्य व्यक्ति को भरा जा सकता है?

शैक्षणिक संस्थानों में एक वक्त तक ऐसी व्यवस्था थी जहां खाली रह गए आरक्षित सीटों को सभी के लिए खोल दिया जाता था। यानी कि open category में डाल दिया जाता था पर शिक्षा मंत्रालय द्वारा जारी एक निर्देश के अनुसार आरक्षित सीटें open category में नहीं डाली जाएगी बल्कि ऐसी स्थिति में खाली सीटों को भरने के लिए कट ऑफ को नीचे लाया जा सकता है। पर आरक्षित सीट को आरक्षित वर्ग के व्यक्ति द्वारा ही भरा जाएगा।

References,
Constitution of India
Commentary on constitution (fundamental rights) – d d basu
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reservation_in_India
FAQs Related to Reservation
https://dopt.gov.in/sites/default/files/FAQ_SCST.pdf