Author: Riya Luhadia, IV year of B.A.,LL.B(Hons.) From Seedling School of Law and Governance, Jaipur National University.
Caste based reservation is one of the most contentious topics prevailing in the country back from history when the Constitution of India did not come into the existence. The framers of the Indian Constitution introduced a system of reservation based on caste in the Indian Society for the upliftment of the weaker sections of the society to have an equal number of opportunities for all the people living in the society and to end the concept of untouchability this system came into existence. But nowadays many people are having affirmative and dissenting opinions regarding this system as per their understanding and living, which makes it more controversial in the actual sense.
ORIGIN OF RESERVATION IN INDIA
It was introduced around 1902 by the Maharaja of Kolhapur, Sahu, in favour of non-Brahmin and backward classes. It provided several opportunities regarding free education, employment, etc Maharaja also demanded the removal of the concept of untouchability. With that, he could create 50 percent reservations for backward communities. After that, it becomes more popular when the British raj included the system of Reservation the Government of India Act of 1909. Prime Minister of Britain had proposed separate representation according to their caste in round table conference of August 1932 which resulted in a rise of caste-based system. Mahatma Gandhi has protested against the proposal, but B. R. Ambedkar, the leader of oppressed classes, gave his affirmation to the proposal. And after all negotiations between Dr. B.R Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi, a Poona pact was formed, in which some seats have to be reserved for Dalits. Then after Independence initiatives were taken in favour of SCs, STs, and OBCs. Then it was officially inserted into the Indian Constitution, as some articles such as A-16(3), A-16(4), A-17, A-330 to 342, and A-335, contain educational safeguards for SCs and STs. But after all the amendments and conferences held, Mandal Commission decided that we will reserve a 27 percent quota for OBCs and it also gave a 10 percent additional quota to economically weaker sections because of the large population of India. After that commission has decided the parameters through which they figure out the backward classes among Hindus and non-Hindus.
Reservation of quotas based on caste is known as a caste-based reservation system which is a kind of discrimination or difference based on caste; the reason behind this is that earlier the Hindu society was separated by different caste amongst them only based on occupation, class, etc. The castes were divided like superior ones were regarded as Brahmins, then Shatriyas, then Vaisyas, and finally the Shudras. Untouchables were also introduced as a caste, but after the commencement of the Indian Constitution, it was abolished because this is not an appropriate criterion for judging a person. The system was for the upliftment of weaker sections of society which can be of any caste so it is wrong to term it as a caste-based reservation as every individual has ample capabilities to achieve what they want so by discriminating for the sake of reservation is not a good thought.
WHY WAS THE SYSTEM OF RESERVATION INTRODUCED IN INDIA?
The result of the age-old caste system, which was prevailing for ages, introduced the reservation in India. The main reason behind introducing reservation is to abolish untouchability because Dalits were untouchable so for that Dr. B.R Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi take the initiative for their upliftment and betterment And also, to have equal representation of all people irrespective of their caste to gain ample opportunity and equal status in the society as other individuals have, and also to avoid historical oppression which people had in ancient times. Therefore, it helps in maintaining equality and harmony among the people of the country by providing everyone the equality of opportunity and status of living in the society. The major role played in introducing this system was by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Britishers for the easement to handle the administration.
Apart from reservations, there are many other schemes like Scheme for grant-in-aid to voluntary organizations working for Scheduled Castes, and scholarships like National fellowship for Scheduled Castes students, etc, and moderations given to various reservation categories. We can see mainly reservations in 3 sectors that are the legislature, Government jobs, and higher educational institutions.
IS THIS SYSTEM A SUCCESSFUL ONE OR A BIG FAILURE?
It is difficult to say for now if this was a failure or a successful attempt because everything comes with both pros and cons but what we as a people can do is avoid the misuse of these quotas given to the backward classes which make other unreserved categories a bit of competition and stress. Just because a person falls under these reserved categories is easily granted the job by having less cut-off in competitive exams as compared to other deserving candidates, but the fact is they belong to the unreserved categories is the controversial point and it also demotivates them and brings their morale down. So till now, there have been many propositions made with protests also, but for many people, it is a successful move and for the rest; it is a failure.
We have been given equal opportunities which makes people who are deprived capable of doing things who are deprived of It ends the historical oppression which was suffered by untouchables by providing an equal amount of opportunities to grow which backward classes were facing for ages.
It provides the same base level to all in terms of status in the society they are living in.
It cures the problem of unemployment of the people belonging to backward classes.
CRITICISM AND ANALYSIS
Reservation being a controversial topic leads to many critiques which leads to many protests by the people who are against it because it instead of boosting the morale demotivates the people appearing for competitive exams as the cut-off for reserved categories is pretty much higher than that of unreserved categories which make them get jobs and high position easily having the same base as that of unreserved categories but the cut-off is higher for unreserved categories and this can be injustice with the unreserved categories of people as they are not getting any preference and with that after scoring more than unreserved categories student they still lose the competitive exams. If we talk about the education system, there should be fewer reservation quotas provided because all are at the same base level which means everyone is an equal level having an equal number of opportunities and we cannot judge students based on the reservation because in all cases reserved category having quotas pass exams easily but the determination and enthusiasm which the students of the unreserved category have cannot neglect. Those who oppose reservations say that seats should be allotted based on merit and not based on caste. Caste cannot be the only criteria for deciding one's occupation it is decided by the capabilities and determination one has to achieve it.
It results in declining growth of the country by having less efficient labour because of the system of reservation, as they have qualified competitive exams to get jobs at lower cut-off than that of the unreserved category, which is again a controversial point. But the fact is that after giving reservations also there are still places and countries where untouchability is still being practiced now how can we say that the reservation has lessened the gap. The research was conducted in 2016 in India known as Social Attitude research, which was a kind of phone survey to find out the percentage of discrimination that people still face in their day-to-day life.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
There can be other innovative ideas through which we can uplift the backward classes but for that instead of providing reservation quotas in the jobs and competitive exams, we can give everyone the equal opportunity to study and excel which makes everyone equal, and then we can judge a person if he is really capable and different from others. As in change in the society, the living pattern of people laws are also changing as we are living in a dynamic society so if we talk about the historic pattern of reservation which was introduced in and around the 1990s, they can also be changes as per the needs and requirements of the people for the betterment of society.
So, unless there are any changes made regarding the laws supporting reservations, we can do nothing to make our country a more developed one with the people having proper knowledge and efficiency in doing work, which is lacking in our country.
Reservation is a system introduced for the enhancement of opportunities to Dalits mainly who are underprivileged as compared to other categories because of the historic oppression which they have faced for ages. In my opinion, this does not mean that giving them ample opportunities and status in terms of cut-off in exams and jobs in the Government sector is justified because the unreserved category has to face too many hardships and what they get is discouragement after all the hard work and determination they input. We not only have reservations based on the caste system but we also have reservations based on religion and gender system as well.