Reservation a system, that has a prolonged historical background and reasons for its existence. It was created for the adequate representation and upliftment of the backward and marginalized sections of the people. But is the system of reservation fair for everyone? Aren’t the deserving persons trapped between the walls of this system? This article is not written to demean the policies of reservation but to have a look on various aspects of it that are essentially needed to be modified. This article is mainly concerned about the situation prevalent in the educational institutions and the depravity of this system.
The main motive of this article is to find the answer to this question that:
whether it is justified that the ability and potential of the individual is not taken into consideration while admitting the students into various educational institutions?
What is Reservation?
Reservation is a system that has been provided to the unprivileged and disadvantaged people for their representation in various fields such as Education, Jobs, Politics and so on.
Emergence of the Reservation system
As we all are very well acquainted with the fact that the issue of religion and caste have always been a trigger point in our nation. It has the potential to aggravate conflicts among different communities. A very well example through which we can relate is the division of our country into two nations based on religion.
In the historical period, Hindus were divided among Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. The Shudras were treated as backwards and untouchables and they were even considered as slaves and inferiors. Even the well-known personalities like B.R Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi faced a lot of inhuman behaviour because they were considered as Dalits.
In 1882, William Hunter and Jyotiba phule, formed the idea of caste-based reservation system. Various decisions were made afterwards, regarding the reservation and then came the most prominent one The Mandal Commission of 1991. It was observed that almost 52% of the total population belongs to the other Backward classes and that led to the acceptance of proposal by B.P Mandal in 1990. The Mandal Commission was accepted, reserving 27% seats for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
After that in 1992, the landmark judgement given by the Supreme court in Indra Sawhney v. Union of India stated that the state shall not raise the cap of 50% in reservation.
Currently,15% reservation is for the SC, 7.5% for ST,27% for the OBCs and 10% for the EWS category, that has been proposed by 103rd constitutional amendment,2019.
Constitutional provisions for Reservations in India
There are many provisions of the constitution for the protection of marginalized and the reservation system.
• Article 15(1) of the Indian constitution talks about the reservation of SC, ST in legislatures, Article 15(2) states about the reservation of PRIs of women ST, SC and ta the special provisions for the OBCs. Article 15(3) talks about the reservation of SC, ST and OBCs in educational institutions
• Article 16(1) of the Indian Constitution talks about the reservation of ST/SC/OBC in public employment and Article 16(2) talks about reservation of SC,ST in promotions on the basis of seniority.
• Section 29(2) of the Indian constitution prevents any educational institution to deny admission to students based on caste, race, religion or language.
• Article 46 states about the promotion of Educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people. It protects them from injustice of the society.
• Article 334(a) of the Indian constitution deals with the reservation of seats for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the Lok Sabha (the house of people) and the Rajya Sabha.
• Article 335 of the Indian constitution states about the appointments of scheduled castes and scheduled Tribes in different posts and services in connection with the Union or State.
• Article 342(A) of the Indian constitution gives power to the president to specify a particular caste as socially or educationally backward.
The Real Problem
Can’t this current system of reservation be modified on the basis of the ability of individuals? As stated under article 29(2) of the constitution of India that it shall prevent educational institution from not admitting students on the basis of religion, caste, race, or language, but the educational institutions are doing the same with the general category students. Only the way of rejection is slightly different and indirect. Can’t this setting of different cut off marks for a lot of government exams based on caste promotes discrimination?
In almost all the government competitive examinations, the prescribed marks to qualify the exam for the SC, ST is much lesser than what is required for a general category student to qualify in that examination. WHY? Are these students less competitive than the general category student? Or Does knowledge varies from caste to caste? Does the adequate social representation means Giving privilege to the undeserved?
Just think of the injustice that is happening in this scenario with students who fall under the general category. Despite putting a lot of hard work, they are not able to get into their dream college.
And yes, it’s not that only the financially weaker sections are getting the benefits of this system, but the whole people (even the ones who are financially and socially strong) are taking the advantage of this system. You cannot segregate the heights of knowledge based on caste. It is not the case that general category students have more potential than the other reserved category students. They all are same then why the criteria to judge their knowledge and potential is different?
As we know very well that our education sector is deteriorating day by day due to ample number of reasons. One of them is this system of reservation in which the potential students are left out and the undeserving candidates, (just by falling into a reserved category)make it to the ladder. This phenomenon has decreased the motivation among students to work hard and dream success. Ample number of students give examinations like NEET, JEE, CLAT, AILET, UPSC and so on and the reservation system also works there.
The students with even rank 20,000 get into the college but the one with rank 2400 is unable to make into it just because he is not qualified for the admission and yes also because he falls into the general category.
A lot of students commit suicide just because they don’t get a seat in their dream college and the fact is, those seats are snatched away from them by the Reserved.
The government should give the support of reservations in educational institutions to only those who can’t afford the education, or are financially very weak
• Today, the situation is more like Making Hay while The Sun Shines, i.e the people with enough resources are also capitalizing on the advantage and this needs to be stopped.
• There is a need to create a mechanism for verification of documents to verify, who are deprived of the privilege and who are not.
• As 10% reservation is given to the Economically weaker sections according to the 103rd constitutional amendment, this criteria should also be applicable in case of SC and ST(especially in educational institutions). Reservation in the educational institutions should be given to the financially weaker sections of not only the general caste people, but also to the SC, ST. This will promote equality among the individuals and the students will not suffer due to the flawed system.
• There should be prevention of discrimination that is inculcated by different requirements of the qualifying marks in order to get into that institution. There must be equal cut off marks for all students irrespective of different caste or religion. Whether it be SC, ST or a general caste student, He/she should be judged on an equal criterion.
The reservation system was needed to adequately represent the backward community, the community which was considered as inferior since the time immemorial. This system was made to rectify the injustice that had been done to them and to promote equality among the individuals. But the ground reality is very harsh. Annihilation of casteism is the first step towards nullifying this system of reservation. But it is not possible to nullify the reservation system totally as we have come so far.
Nonetheless, some changes can be made despite this fact. The modification in the present reservation system is need of the hour. For the sake of students, who aspire to become doctors, engineers, lawyers from a renowned institution, the reservation policies should be changed.
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