Introduction: – Article 14 talks about equality in wider sense, article 15 promotes equality and prohibits discrimination on specific grounds and Article 16 is the narrowest in all three, which talks about equality limited to employment and appointment matters.
Ambedkar while debating on article 16 quotes it as compensatory benefit, for the upliftment of sections which has faced long discrimination in society.
Equality in sense of this article means ‘removal of disabilities’ and ‘creation of new opportunities’
Article 16: –
Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment
- There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
- No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect or, any employment or office under the State.
- Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from making any law prescribing, in regard to a class or classes of employment or appointment to an office under the Government of, or any local or other authority within, a State or Union territory, any requirement as to residence within that State or Union territory prior to such employment or appointment.
- Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.
- Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any law which provides that the incumbent of an office in connection with the affairs of any religious or denominational institution or any member of the governing body thereof shall be a person professing a particular religion or belonging to a particular denomination.
Article 16(1): – The article talks about equality of opportunity in employment/appointment in state jobs.
Article 16(2): – The article prohibits discrimination on the following grounds in criteria made for employment/appointment: –
- Place of birth
(Descent and Residence was not included in grounds provided in article 15)
Article 16(3): – This article is exception to article 16(2), it says that parliament has power to make reservations on the basis of residence.
The basis of this exception are: –
- To ensure accelerated development of backward areas.
- Equal opportunities to different areas of state.
Example: – Two students, one goes in a school in a metro city and other goes in a school which is in far flung area. It is apparent that the second student is deprived of the facilities of education which the first student has. Hence, to make reservation for the second student is justifiable.
Article 16(4): – The article provides that for social and economic prosperity of disadvantaged section of society, state has power to reserve posts in favour of such section. It also includes Backward Class, ST, SC.
Many questions were made on the validity of article 16(4): –
- Its sealing limit,
- Job efficiency effected by it,
- How to and who will, determine disadvantaged section/ backward class.
- Extent of the article.
But in the case of M.R Balaji v. State of Mysore 1963, Supreme Court laid down two conditions for whom and when the reservation under article 16(4) applies: –
- Backwardness must be both social and educational.
- When adequate representation in services under state is not present.
If someone satisfies both the conditions, he/she will be eligible for reservation provided in article 16(4).
Carry Forward Rule
In the case Devdasan v. Union of India,
If the seats under reservation left vacant, it adds up in the next year and subsequent year.
The issue was that in 1961 the reservation crosses the limit of 50% and got up to 64% for SC/ST, due to carry forward rule. The court held that in any case if the reservation exceeds the marks of 50% in totality, it is invalid.
In the case of Indira Sawhney v. Union of India 1993 (also known as Mandal Case).
In 1973, a commission was made by PM to determine Socially and educationally backward class in India. Commission submitted its report in 1980.
A total of 3743 castes were determined as socially and educationally backward and the commission recommended a total of 27% reservation in jobs for them.
In 1990 PM V.P. Singh implemented this recommendation and reserved 27% jobs for the determined socially and educationally backward class.
The court in this case (9 judge bench) gave 12 principles and held that: –
- 27% reservation is correct for socially and educationally backward class.
- Reservation confined to appointment and not promotions.
- Reservation cannot exceed 50% limit but can be relaxed in extra-ordinary situations.
Parliament realized this judgement was good and comes 77th Amendment Act, which inserted article 16(4)(A).
Article 16(4)(A): – It enables to continue reservation in promotions for SC/ST.
With the 81st Amendment Act, come Article 16(4)(B), which ended 50% ceiling on reservation for SC/ST for ‘Backlog vacancy’.
Article 16(5): – The article talks about reservation in religious institutions. The article provides that, if for bearing the office of a religious institution, the seat is reserved for the people of a particular religion, it is valid. It is not in violation of article 16(1)/16(2).
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If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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