The aim of this paper is to identify the issues and provide some possible
solutions for India's reservation policy. To complete the project and determine
if the writer has used empirical and descriptive methods, the writer has based
his research on Articles 15 (4), 16 (4), 46, 340, 341, 342 of the Indian
Constitution, among others.
He is dependent on books, journals, newspapers, and
online databases for this document. The thorough reading of Articles 15 and 16
of the Indian Constitution to determine if the reservation policy is
satisfactory and accomplishes its goals. The aim of this paper is to examine the
provisions of Articles 15 (4) and 16 (4) of the Constitution.
The author also relied on case law in his study.
The writer posed the following questions to which he attempted to find an
- What is the intention of India's reservation policy and what is the idea
- In terms of reservation, who are the poorer parts of society?
- What are the issues with reservations and how can they be resolved?
Reservations were introduced in India during the last decades of the
nineteenth century, when the subcontinent could be divided into two major types
of governance: British India and 600 princely states. Any of these states were
forward-thinking, eager to modernise through the promotion of education and
industry, as well as the preservation of the environment. The sense of belonging
among their own people The awakening and development of the people in South and
Western India piqued their interest of minorities and the poorest members of
One of the Constitution's goals and objectives is to ensure equality of status
and opportunity for all people, as well as to foster fraternity among them all
while preserving the individual's dignity and the nation's unity and
integrity. It is worth noting that, since the right to equality and
prohibition of discrimination against any citizen on the basis of religion,
race, caste, sex, or place of birth were insufficient to make the basic human
right meaningful to the weaker sections, the framers added additional
provisions, namely, Articles 41, 45, and 46 of the constitution, requiring
positive state action and allowing reservations in some areas in educationand
in posts and appointments in a manner consistent with the administration's
Article 334 originally provided for a ten-year allocation of seats
in the House of People and state legislative assemblies for scheduled castes and
tribes. However, by successive constitutional amendments, this reservation has
been extended from time to time, all the way up to 2010 AD. Article 340
establishes a commission to study the situations of economically and
educationally disadvantaged groups and make recommendations on how to improve
Both of these provisions are aimed at ensuring the rapid uplift
of the nation's poorer sections in order to ensure equality of status and
opportunity, which will foster national fraternity, solidarity, and dignity. Dr.
B.R. Ambedkar had stressed the importance of promoting social and economic
equality in the constituent assembly debate in order to make democracy
meaningful and workable.
There are two types of reservation in our Indian constitution:
- Reservations in admissions to educational institutions
- As reservations in posts and appointments in government offices.
India's population was largely economically, educationally, and politically
backward. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Groups are the
three categories of backward people. The Government of India has established a
quota system in which a percentage of positions in government and public sector
units, as well as in all public and private educational institutions, but not in
minority-run educational institutions, are reserved for the Backward Classes.
This system was created to help people who are behind the times.Socially and
educationally disadvantaged groups, as well as scheduled castes and scheduled
tribes, are underrepresented in government programmes and educational
institutions. Reservations are also made available to Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes for inclusion in India's Parliament.
India's Reservation Policy In Historical Context.
India has evolved into a permanent machine that provides reservation to its
citizens based on castes and faith, as well as social and educational
backwardness, in order to garner the most votes.
There have been some
significant historical incidents in India's reservation policy they are:
A Special Provision Has Been Made For The Promotion Of Backward
- When the British controlled India, there was a system of
reservation in place.
- In 1882, the Hunter Commission was created, and Mahatma Jyotirao Phule
demanded free and compulsory education for all citizens, as well as government
- In the state of Kolhapur, a notification in 1902 established a 50 percent
reservation in services for backward citizens. This was India's first
notification establishing a quota for the welfare of backward people.
- Reservation was implemented in 1908 to benefit the castes and
cultures that played a role in the administration under British rule
- The Government of India Act, 1909, also known as the Morley Minto Reform,
made provisions in 1909.
- The Government of India Act, 1919, included provisions for
reservation in 1919.
- In 1921, the Madras Presidency issued a government order
granting non-Brahmins 44 percent quota and Muslims 16 percent.
- Anglo Indian Christians have a 16 percent quota, while Scheduled
Castes have an 8% reservation
- The Government of India Act, 1935, included provisions for
reservation in 1935.
- Our Indian Constitution went into effect on January 26, 1950.
- In the case of State of Madras v. Smt. Champcam Dorairajan, the court
ruled that caste-based reservations were unconstitutional.
- Infringes on India's constitution, Article 15 (1).
- The first constitutional amendment was enacted to overturn the
above-mentioned decision and provision (4) of Article 15.
- The Kalelkar Commission was formed in 1953 to investigate the condition of
the socially and educationally disadvantaged.
- In the case of Balaji v. Mysore, the Supreme Court set a 50% reservation
ceiling in 1963.
- Rajasthan has given 68 percent reservation, while Tamil Nadu has given 69
percent (under 9th Schedule)
- The Mandal Commission was formed in 1979 to investigate the condition of
socially and educationally disadvantaged people.
- In its 1980 report, the Commission proposed that the current
quota structure be changed.
- Vishwanath Pratap Singh adopted the Mandal Commission's recommendations in
government employment in 1990.
- The Narsimha Rao government implemented a 10% special quota for poor in 1991.
- The 77th Constitutional Amendment of 1995 attached clause (4)
(A) to Article 16 of the Constitution, granting reservation in
promotions to SCs and STs.
- In P. A. Inamdar & Ors. v. State of Maharastra held that
- Profit technical schools, as well as minority and unaided
- The 93rd Constitutional Amendment was introduced in 2005 to
guarantee the reservation scheme.
Article 15 (4) of India's constitution provides for the development of all
socially and educationally backward people, as well as the Scheduled Castes and
Tribes. As a result of the decision in the case of State of Madras v. Champakam
, this clause (4) was inserted by the 1st Constitutional Amendment
Act, 1951. The Madras government had reserved seats in state medical and
engineering colleges for different communities based on faith, ethnicity, and
castes in this case.
This was challenged in court because it was found to be in
violation of Article 15 (1) of the Constitution. The state defended the
legislation, claiming that it was passed to encourage social justice for all
members of society, as required by Article 46 of the DPSP. The Supreme Court
declared the law reserving seats on the basis of religion, race, and caste to be
null and void.
The student was graded based on castes, faith, and other factors rather than on
merit. To alter the impact of the preceding ruling Article 15 of the SC was
revised, and clause (4) was inserted. The STATE is allowed under this clause to
make special provisions for the development of socially and educationally
backward people, as well as scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Article 15
(4) is merely a permissive clause that imposes no duty on the state to take any
specific action. If required, the state has the authority to make reservations.
Two points must be decided in order to make a reservation under Article 15
- Who are the socially and educationally backward classes?
- What is the reservation limit?
The term backward classes
is not specified in the
Indian Constitution. Article 46 uses the phrase the weaker sections of the population
, which the Supreme
Court has defined to mean "all sections of the people who are made weaker due to
factors such as poverty and physical and natural handicaps.". In addition,
Article 16 (4) uses the phrase "backward class of citizen."
The commission for the backward classes was formed first.
Article 340, on the other hand, gives the President the authority to create a
Commission to investigate the circumstances of the economically and
educationally disadvantaged. In 1953, the President of India constituted the 1st
Backward Classes Commission, which was chaired by Kaka Kalelkar, in accordance
with Article 340 of the constitution. The commission may make recommendations to
the federal and state governments on how to alleviate the problems that the
socially and educationally disadvantaged face.
It was made with the following
goals in mind:
- For the purpose of deciding the criterion to be used in
determining whether any segment of the Indian population,
other than SC and ST, is socially and educationally
- For the purpose of studying the working conditions of
such groups and the gaps that exist between them.
- For making recommendations to the Union or any state
about how to overcome obstacles and improve economic
For defining socially and educationally disadvantaged classes, the Commission
adopted the following criteria: The traditional caste social status in Hindu
- A caste or community's main segment has a lower
level of educational development than the rest of the
caste or community.
- Inadequacy of government service representation.
- Inadequacy of representation in the fields of
commerce, manufacturing, and trade.
On March 30, 1955, the Kaka Kalelkar commission submitted its report. It had
compiled a list of some of the commission's recommendations, which were as
- Keeping a caste-by-caste population record in
the 1961 census.
- Considering all women to be a 'backward' class.
- Seats for backward classes are reserved at 70%
in all educational institutions.
- Vacancies in all government services and local
bodies should be reserved for OBCs.
Mr. Kaka Kalelkar, the commission's chairman, was dissatisfied with the
commission's recommendation because the report was ambiguous. He sent a letter
to the President opposing the commission's recommendation. The commission's
report, however, was rejected by the central government because it did not use
any objective tests to define the Backward Class.
The Mysore Government issued an order under Article 15 (4) in Balaji v. State of
, reserving seats in the state's medical and engineering colleges as
- 50% of the population belongs to the
backward and more backward groups.
- Scheduled castes account for 15% of the
- Scheduled tribes account for 3% of the
As a result, 68 percent of the seats were reserved. The legitimacy of the order
was questioned by a candidate who was denied entry. Under Article 15, the Court
held that sub-classification by order between backward and more backward was not
justified (4). It was also decided that backwardness could not be determined
solely on the basis of "caste." Backwardness must be both social and
educational, not one or the other.
As a result, the government concluded that further research was needed in order
to devise some workable criteria for identifying socially and educationally
disadvantaged groups in order to provide them with all possible assistance.
Second Commission on Backward Classes
The Janata Party government (under Prime Minister Morarji Desai) agreed to
create a second backward classes commission in 1979. Mr. B.P. Mandal, the
chairman of the board, was known as the Mandal Commission.
For defining the socially and educationally disadvantaged classes, the
Commission adopted the following criteria:and There are three types of criteria:
social, educational, and economic.
In December of 1980, the commission submitted its draught. According to the
study, OBCs made up about 52 percent of India's total population, including
Hindus and non-Hindus. The commission proposed a 27 percent reservation for OBCs.
For a long time after the mandal report was submitted, no action was taken. The
commission largely associated castes with the lower classes and largely ignored
the economic test
Following the backward class commission's report, the issue
of defining backward classes was brought before the Supreme Court in the case of Vasant Kumar. The Supreme Court's judges unanimously decided that "caste"
could not be the sole determinant of backwardness.
Indira Sawhney v. UOI
, also known as the Mandal Commission case, is a
landmark Supreme Court decision on the issue of reservation of jobs for the
underprivileged. In 1990, the V.P. Singh government released an official
memorandum approving the mandal commission's recommendation and declaring a 27
percent reservation for socially and
educationally backward classes in vacancies in
civil posts and government of India services.
The memorandum was challenged in the Supreme
Court, and the bench of nine judges considered
The SC's most positive feature can be
- A year's worth of reservations is
limited to a maximum of 50%.
- The backward class does not have the
What is the difference between Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes?
The Scheduled Castes and Tribes have long been considered the most disadvantaged
members of Indian society. To compensate them, India's constitution included a
special clause in their favour. There are special arrangements for SC/ST in
government services and legislative bodies, as well as preferential admission
into educational institutions.
The question now is who falls into the SC/ST
group. The Indian constitution is silent on who constitutes a member of the SC
or ST categories. However, Articles 341 and 342 give the President the authority
to compile a list of these castes and tribes. According to Article 341 of the
Constitution, the President, after consulting with the Governor, specifies the
castes, races, or tribes, or classes within castes, races, or tribes, for the
purposes of their constitution. Any caste, race, or tribe may be included or
excluded from presidential notification by Parliament by legislation.
Admissions With A Reservation
Reservations in educational institutions can
be made for Women
under Article 15
(3), Socially and educationally backward classes, Scheduled castes and
under Article 15 (4), and Other grounds not falling under
Articles 15 (3) and 15 (4)
The 1st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1951 was enacted by Parliament in response
to the decision in State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan
, and clause (4)
was added to Article 15 to address the difficulties in the case. The State of
Madras reserved seats in educational institutions on the basis of castes, faith, colour, and other factors, which was ruled unconstitutional because it violated
Article 15 of the Constitution (1). The new clause (4) now allows the state to
make special arrangements for individuals who are economically and educationally
disadvantaged. The state is now free to set aside seats in educational
Is it possible for the government to reserve seats in privately operated
The Supreme Court ruled in the T. M. Pai Foundation case
, the Islamic
, and the P. A. Inamdar case
 that the state cannot make
reservations for seats in privately operated educational institutions. To
override the effects of both of the preceding situations, the Parliament added a
new clause (5) to Article 15, allowing the state to set the reservation in
privately operated educational institutions as well.
However, under Article 30
(1) of India's constitution, this provision does not apply to institutions owned
by minorities. It is now clear that the government has the authority to make
reservations in private educational institutions as well. The question now is
that what would be the reservation's limit, as the Supreme Court decided in the
Balaji case The Supreme Court ruled in this case that Only up to 50% of
seats can be reserved by the state.
Article 16 (4) of India's constitution provides for the reservation of
appointments or positions in favour of any person. Citizens from "backward
classes" who, in the opinion of the government, are underrepresented in public
services a state The term "State" refers to both the federal and state
governments, as well as their agencies. The fourth paragraph of Article 16 is
Only if two requirements are met:
- The citizens' class is backward, and
- The citizens' class is
underrepresented in the state's programmes.
The Supreme Court explained that Article 16 (4) is an enabling provision
conferring on the state the discretionary power to make any reservation of
appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of people who, in the view
of the state, is not adequately represented in the state's services. For the
purpose of alleging reservation, Article 16 (4) does not place any
constitutional obligations or confer any fundamental rights on anyone
In Devadasan v. UOI
, the Supreme Court found the scope of Article 16
(4). In this situation, the
constitutional legitimacy of the
government's bear forward
for regulating the recruitment of people from lower social groups to
government jobs was at stake. If a sufficient number of SC/ST candidates were
not eligible for the appointment of reserved quota candidates, the vacancies
that remained unfilled would be considered as unreserved and filled by the fresh
available candidates, but a corresponding number of posts would be reserved for
SC/ST in the following year in addition to their reserved quota for the
The carry forward law
was declared unconstitutional by the court. However, in Mandal Commission case, the Supreme Court overruled Devadasan and held that
the "carry forward law" is applicable as long as it does not exceed 50% of
vacancies in any given year.
The Supreme Court issued the following rulings in
- The backward classes must exclude the creamy layer;
- Unlike in the case of Balaji, it is permissible to divide backward
classes into backward and more backward categories.
- Reservations do not exceed 50%.
- There are no reservations in the promotion
The government enacted the Constitution 77th Amendment Act, 1995, to nullify the
argument "no reservation in promotion," and a new clause (4A) was added to
Article 16 as a result.
Resources For Solutions
- India's quota policy will never be abolished.
- In India, reservations are typically based on caste and religion.
- There is no information available to determine who benefits from
- Families who become wealthy receive reservation benefits as well.
- Many times, real poor people are unaware of their right to reservation
- Indian society is divided along the lines of caste, faith, and gender.
- Well-qualified applicants are barred from important administrative
- In the name of reservation policy, there is a lot of corruption.
- Reservation benefits are distributed to the appropriate beneficiaries
via the mediator; however, the mediators are abusing the government's
policy, which is not the right way.
- The reservation policy is not being observed properly.
- Reservations are made from general seats, not from seats created
specifically for people from economically and educationally disadvantaged
- First and foremost, the government must create a database that
identifies who is receiving reservation benefits. Such a database should be
open to the general public.
- The backlog clause must be removed, and the remaining vacancies must be
filled by eligible applicants within one year.
- Reservations shall not be made on the basis of caste. It must be based
on economic, social, and physical limitations.
- The government should conduct an annual review of the reservation
- The government should establish a special and separate post for the
weaker sections of society, rather than interfering with general seats.
- Reservations should be dependent on the family's total salary, which
includes both the husband and wife's salaries as well as all other sources
- Only a small number of children in a family would be eligible for
- The reservation should not be for the purpose of promotion, but rather
as a one-time assistance.
- The creamy layer definition can also be included in the SC/ST groups.
- Prior to granting the reservation to the poorer members of society, some
economic assistance must be given.
The author ends his work by stating that the oppressed groups cannot be able to
remain oppressed indefinitely. The Indian Constitution forbids it. The
reservation policy is a band-aid solution to the issue, not a long-term
solution.a regressive attitude The government should take measures to ensure
that reservation policy is properly implemented.The benefits are provided to
those who are in need. In the case of SC/ST, the creamy layer definition should
also be implemented.
The poorer parts of society should be granted special
economic assistance first in order to survive, and then to reserve their seats.
It is important to remember that the reservation can only be granted if the
government is efficient in its administration, as Article 335 states that:
argument of SC/ST shall be taken into consideration consistent with the
preservation of administrative efficiency in the making of appointments to the
services and posts in connection with the Union and States' affairs.
there are some issues with the quota policy that must be addressed as soon as
possible. The author has disclosed such a problem as well as some possible
solutions. The government should reconsider reservation policies and take
appropriate action in order to ensure that they are implemented properly.
- Arvind P. Datar, Commentary On The Constitution Of India, Wdhwa And Co.,
Nagpur, Second Edition, 2007
- Basu, D.D., Commentary On The Constitution Of India, Wdhwa And Co.,
Nagpur, Vol. 2, Eighth Edition, 2007.
- De, D.J., The Constitution Of India, Asia Law House, Hyderabad, Vol.
- Hidayatullah, M., Constitutional Law Of India, Arnold-Heinemenn, New
Delhi, Vol. 2.
- Jain, M.P., Indian Constitutional Law, Lexisnexis Butterworthswadhwa
Nagpur, Sixth Edition 2010.
- Seervai, H.M., Constitutional Law Of India Universal Law Publishing
Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, Fourth Edition, 1991, Reprint, 2008.
- Singh, M.P., V.N. Shukla's Constitution Of India, Eastern Book
Company, Lucknow, Second Edition, 2008.
- Constituent Assembly Debate, Vol. 11
- Report of the Backward Classes Commission, Chapters IV, V and VII
- P. P. Rao, 'Right to equality and the reservation policy', Journal of the
I.L.I,(2000), vol. 42
- Preamble of the Constitution of India, 1950.
- Article 41: The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the
right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of
Article 45: The State shall endeavour to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free
and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.
Article 46: The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and,
in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of
- Article 15(4): Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of Article 29
shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the
advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens
or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes
- Article 16(4): Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts
in favor of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the
- Constituent Assembly Debate, Vol. 11, pp. 979 and 980.
- AIR, 1951,SC, p 226
- AIR, 1963,SC, p 649
- AIR, 1951, SC, 226
- Indra Sawhney v. UOI, AIR 1993 SC 477.
- AIR, 1963 SC p. 649.
- Report of the Backward Classes Commission, Chapters IV, V and VII
- K. C. Vasant Kumar v. State of Karnataka, AIR 1985 SC 1495
- AIR, 1993 SC 477.
- AIR 1951 SC 226
- AIR 2003 SC 355
- AIR 2003 SC 3724
- AIR 2005 SC 3226
- Article 15 (5), it provides that nothing in this Article or in Article
19 (1) (g) shall prevent the State from making any special provision, by
law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes
of citizens or for the Scheduled castes or the Scheduled tribes in so for
as such special provisions relate to admission to educational institutions
including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the
State, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in
Article 30 of the constitution of India
- M. R.Balaji v. State of Mysore, AIR 1963 SC p. 649
- Mohan Kumar Singhania v. UOI, AIR 1992 SC 1, 26.
- Indra Sawhney v. UOI, 1993 SC
- AIR 1964 SC p. 179
- Indra Sawheny v. UOI, AIR 1993 SC p. 477
- Article 16 (4A): nothing in this Article shall prevent the state from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotion to
any class or classes of posts in services of the state in favour of the SC/ST which in the opinion of the state, are not adequately
represented in the services under the state.
- P.P. Rao, 'right to equality and the reservation policy', journal of the
Indian law institute,(2000), vol. 42, p. 194