Class Based Reservation

RELEVANCE OF CLASS BASED RESERVATION

The  theme  of  Reservation  Policy  usually  triggers  controversies  and  evokes  passionate reactions and debates amongst both adherents and detractors. Irrespective of the context in which  it  is  invoked,  the  philosophical  content  of  the  idea  is  essentially  contestable  and complex.

This study is based on students belongs to ‘scheduled caste’ and ‘scheduled tribe’ categories  generally  called  SCs/STs  and  role  of  reservation  policy  to  see  the  impact  of  its implementation in higher education in India, about caste action and the very survival of caste as an institution to participate in higher education  and in jobs  for bright career of SCs/STs students.

Even  as  it  takes  on,  in  a  specific  socio-temporal  context,  the  dynamics  of Scheduled  Castes  (SCs)  and  Scheduled  Tribes  (STs)  individuality  in  contemporary  Uttar Pradesh particularly in the major district like Agra.  Reservation, also sometimes denoted as affirmative action or positive discrimination, it refers to a policy or program, or giving certain preferences to certain groups (usually under-represented groups) over the others.

The policy of reservation, it must be kept in mind, was not a post-constitutional phenomenon but had its antecedents in the colonial times. Caste or communal quotas were in vogue well before the Constitution  came  into  force.  Reservations  in  favour  of  the  backward  classed  (BCs)  were introduced long before independence in a large area, comprising the presidency areas and the princely  states  in  the  south  of  the  Vindhyas.  Chatrapati  Sahuji  Maharaj,  Maharaja  of Kohlapur in Maharashtra, introduced reservation in favour of backward classes in as early as 1902 to eradicate poverty from amongst them and to give them their due share in the state administration. 

The  notification  of  1902  created  50%  reservation  in  services  for  different communities  in  the  State.  This  notification  was  the  first  government  order  providing  for reservation  for  the  welfare  of  depressed  classes  in  India. This  class  based reservation is important in country like India where people don’t recognise other people as their equal just because they are from lower class and that’s why because of these reservations these people gets an opportunity to do something which makes them proud of themselves and they can live in society happily without any biasness.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF RESERVATION IN INIDA

Reservation,   also sometimes denoted as affirmative action or positive discrimination, it refers to a policy or program, or giving certain preferences to certain groups (usually underrepresented groups) over the others.”The policy of reservation, it must be kept in mind, was  not a post-constitutional phenomenon but had its antecedents in the colonial times. Caste or communal   quotas   were   in   vogue   well   before   the   Constitution   came   into   force.

Reservations in favour of the backward classed (BCs) were introduced long before independence in a large area, comprising the presidency areas and the princely states in the south of the Vindhyas. Chatrapati Sahuji Maharaj, Maharaja of Kohlapur in Maharashtra,  introduced  reservation  in  favour  of  backward  classes  in  as  early  as  1902  to eradicate poverty from amongst them and to give them their due share in the state administration. The notification of 1902 created  50% reservation  in services for different communities  in  the  State. 

This  notification  was  the  first   government  order  providing  for reservation  for  the  welfare  of  depressed  classes  in  India.  In   the   year   1942,   Dr.   B.R Ambedkar   established   the   all   India   depressed classes  federation  to  support  the advancement of the scheduled castes”.    He demanded reservations for the Scheduled castes in government services as well as other  sectors. 

However, in the year 1947, India obtained independence and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was appointed chairman of the drafting committee  for  Indian  Constitution.  The  India  Constitution  prohibits  discrimination  on  the grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth. While providing equality of opportunity for all citizens, the Constitution contains special clauses for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the  Scheduled  Tribes.  Separate  constituencies  allocated  to  scheduled  castes  and  tribes  to ensure  their  political  representation   for   10   years.  

It   is   significant  to   note   that according to the article 15(4) of constitution of India, which provides a constitutional basis for reservation in education, did not form part or the Constitution as it originally  stood in 1950, although there was provision for reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any  backward  class  of  citizens  under  article  16(4).   However,   an   equivalent   of   the current article 15(4) was the subject matter of considerable  debate amongst the founding fathers of the constitution.

NEED OF CLASS BASED RESERVATION

We Indians, as a society and as a global power, are becoming the forerunner among all the South  Asian  nations.  But  some  regressive  concepts  like  casteism,  on  which  the  domestic politics of India is dependent, which does not allow an individual to have a frank and free relation with the so-called untouchables of the society, are still prevailing. The present social conditions of the SCs and STs are not different from those in the later Vedic period. Untouchability is still prevalent, and they bear the brunt of it. Economically also, they are yet to be emancipated”.

“Freedom of choice of profession (Article 19) is alien to them; caste-based discrimination, sexual exploitation and atrocities (as prohibited by the Article 15) are the fate of the women of this section-  even naked parade and witch hunting are a usual phenomena. Constitutionally, all Indian citizens have the right to  live with  full dignity with equal opportunity in all affairs of life. Article 16(4) of the Indian Constitution empowers the State to have some special provisions for the backward classes of the society, if their  representation  is  not  adequate  in  any  affairs  of  life. 

For  this  purpose,  the  policy  of reservation  (Article  335) came  into  existence,  which  is  politically  called    Affirmative Action. In this  context, the hypocritical high class is always against this provision with the excuse that  reservation  policy  deprives  them  of  the  society  and  causes  the  grave  violation of  the Article 14 (Equality Before Law) and Article 16 (Equal Opportunity of Employment) of the Constitution. 

To my understanding, it is not a violation of the Constitution and nothing in this provision deprives others. The  weaker sections of the society are too weak to compete with the economically elite class on equal terms. They should be brought in the mainstream first, should be made economically empowered, and then should be encouraged to compete on an equal basis. A race between a physically challenged man and a man on bike cannot be considered.

The policy of reservation is not as regressive as it has been widely propagated to be.  It  is  a  type  of  special  care  taken  by  the  Government  of  India,  by  its  Constitutional obligation, for the downtrodden. “However, here we have to argue, why is there a necessity to entertain a provision such as reservation?” We  live  in  a  welfare  state  that  is  run  on  welfare  schemes.  India  is  a  mixed  economy. Although the “Preamble to the Constitution describes the nation as a socialist country, we are leaning towards capitalism”.  “Some preventive measures are being taken by the government to  protect  the  weaker  section from the  exploitation at  the  hands  of capitalists. 

This  is why there is  a provision for specific commodities to be produced only by Indian companies. It is done  in  order  to  protect  the  interests  of  Indian  firms  from  MNCs.  In  all  fairness,  the hypocritical  higher  strata  of  the  society  should  shout  out  against  this  rule,  which  is  also against  the  provision  of  WTO  (since  India  liberalised  its  economy). Therefore, reservation is inevitable – both in economic and social aspects”. “A Now, the question arises, on what basis should the reservation be given? Whether it should be given on the basis of caste, or on the basis of economic status, or on the basis of religion? For how long the policy should be continued?”

According to me, the criterion of reservation should be made on the financial standing of a person instead of their caste heredity. So far, the policy of reservation benefitted the weaker people  among  the  Hindus  only,  leaving  the  weaker  ones  of  other  faiths  into  the  pyre  of struggle. Sachar Committee Report (2006) says, “The conditions of the people among the Muslims  are  much  worse  than  average. 

The  righteousness  is  that  weaker  sections  of  the society  from  all  faiths  should  be  brought  under  the  umbrella  of  reservation  and  there  is  a need to introduce the concept of ‘Creamy Layer’ into the reservation scheme of SCs/STs“. We  don’t  need  reservations  based  on  castes  or  religion  but  only  to  actually  provide  aid  to those who have minimal resources;  and merit should be given equal  and due importance in admission procedures as well employment opportunities.

This way we would be successful in removing  caste  discrimination  and  unite  the  economically  rich  together  in  helping  the economically poor, irrespective of their castes. “We live in a free  country and this freedom is a gift of democracy to us. Our constitution gives us the right to freedom and most importantly to exercise this freedom in an equitable manner. At the same time it is incumbent on the part of the state to ensure that equality prevails in all sections of  the society. 

However in today’s time  one  of the major roadblocks to this equality is the Reservation System.  India being  a developing nation is currently facing many challenges and the reservation system being one of them.  The current scenario  clearly depicts that the  lower  castes  are still discriminated in their daily lives. To uproot casteism it is important that we fight the reservation system which alone will lead us to development, competency, equality and unity. 

The reservation system finds  its  origin  in  the  age-old  caste  system  of  India.  Today  we  stand  divided  widely  into Hindu,  Muslim,  SC,  ST  &  OBCs  with  newer  reservations  coming  up  for  other  different sections of the society. We  really need to understand that the reservation system only divides the society leading to discrimination and conflicts between different sections. It is oppressive and  does  not  find  its  basis  in  casteism. 

“We don’t need reservations based on castes or religion but only to actually provide aid to  those  who  have  minimal  resources;  and  merit  should  be  given  equal  a   and  due importance  in  admission  procedures  as  well  employment  opportunities.  This  way  wewould  be  successful  in  removing  caste  discrimination  and  unite  the  economically  rich together in helping the economically poor, irrespective of their castes.”

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