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The spirit of equality pervades the provisions of the Constitution of India, as the main
aim of the founders of the Constitution was to create an egalitarian society wherein
social, economic and political justice prevailed and equality of status and opportunity are
made available to all. However, owing to historical and traditional reasons, certain classes
of Indian citizens are under severe social and economic disabilities [so] that they cannot
effectively enjoy either equality of status or of opportunity. Therefore the Constitution
accords to these weaker sections of society protective discrimination in various articles,
including Article 15(4). This clause empowers the state, notwithstanding anything to the
contrary in Articles 15(1) and 29(2), to make special reservation for the advancement of
any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for scheduled castes and
scheduled tribes. 1.2. Reservation is an affirmative action taken by the state to remove the
persistent or present and continuing effects of past discrimination on particular segments
of the society to: (i) lift the limitation on access to equal opportunities; (ii) grant
opportunity for full participation in the governance of the society; (iii) overcome
substantial chronic under representation of a social group; and (iv) serve/achieve the
important constitutional/governmental objectives.

Historical background of reservation

Reservation during pre-independence period
Policies involving reservation of seats for the marginalised section of the population have
been in existence in the country for a long period of time. In the late 19th century, after
the first war of independence, the British began to view the Indian population as a
heterogeneous group. They initiated a range of policies for specific categories of the
subject population religious minorities as well as those belonging to lower castes. By
the late 19th century the British had started preparing a list of depressed classes and
they set up scholarships, special schools and other programmes for their betterment. Also,
with a view to assuaging the sentiments of the growing movements against the Brahmin
domination in the government and administration, the British introduced some form of
reservations. In Bombay, seats were reserved for all except Brahmins, Marwaris, Banias,
Parsis and Christians. In 1927 in Madras presidency, government reserved five of every
12 jobs for non-Brahmin Hindus, two each for Brahmins, Christians and Muslims and
one for others. A few princely states like Baroda, Travancore and Kolhapur also
introduced similar provisions. In Kolhapur (Maharashtra), Sahuji Maharaj reserved 50
per cent of the vacant seats in his administration for non-Brahmins. Subsequently, the
efforts of Dr BR Ambedkar in particular and the all-India depressed classes in general
eventually helped to expand the net of reservations. While the British had earlier reserved
seats only in legislative bodies, in 1943, reservations in services came into effect.
Accordingly, 8.33 per cent posts against direct recruitment made through open
competition were reserved for scheduled castes. These instructions issued in 1943 can be
called as origin of reservation in government services.

Reservations during post-independence period

Reservation in services in favour of SCs and STs At the time of independence,
instructions were issued on September 21, 1947 to provide reservations of 12.5 per cent
for scheduled castes in respect of vacancies arising in recruitment made through open
competition. However, for recruitments made otherwise than open competition,
reservation of 16.66 per cent was fixed. After the Constitution was promulgated, the then
ministry of home affairs in its resolution of September 13, 1950 provided five per cent
reservation for scheduled tribes apart from the reservation that was already in effect for
the scheduled castes. According to the population ratio of these communities, based on
the 1961 Census, government on March 25, 1970 increased the seats reserved for SCs
and STs from 12.5 per cent and five per cent to 15 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively.
SC reservation is also available to Sikhs and Buddhists and ST to all minorities, as ST
identity is caste/religion-neutral. In 1974, reservations in promotion by selection from
Group C to Group B, within Group B and from Group B to the lowest rung of Group A
was introduced provided that the element of direct recruitment did not exceed 50 per
cent. This limitation of direct recruitment not exceeding 50 per cent was raised to 66.66
per cent in 1976 and to 75 per cent in 1989. At this stage, the Supreme Court intervened

and ruled against reservations in promotions. However, the government amended the
Constitution to incorporate Article 16(4A) and following this amendment, government is
sued instructions on August 13, 1997 to continue the reservations in promotion for the
SCs and STs till such time as the representation of each of these categories in each cadre
reaches the prescribed percentages. To facilitate the fulfilment of the reservation quota,
certain concessions are also given to SC and ST candidates in the form of relaxation of
the maximum age limit prescribed for direct recruitment, exemption from payment of
fees prescribed for recruitment/selection, relaxation of standards, including relaxation of
experience, etc.

Reservations in services in favour of other backward classes

The princely state of Mysore instituted a system in which all communities other than
Brahmins were denominated backward classes from 1918 and places were reserved for
them in colleges and state services. In independent India, several states implemented the
reservation in services and admissions in educational institutions in favour of backward
classes much earlier than the Government of India. The Government of India took
initiatives for providing reservation to the backward classes immediately after the
commencement of the Constitution and the first Backward Classes Commission, also
known as Kaka Kalelkar Commission, was constituted in 1953. The commission
submitted its report in 1955. Though the commission recognised a number of causes for
social and educational backwardness, yet it eventually used the criterion of caste to
identify socially and educationally backward classes. The commission listed 2,399 castes
as socially and educationally backward and recommended various welfare measures for
OBCs, including reservation in government services and educational institutions. The
central government did not accept its recommendations because the caste based
reservations were considered a retrograde step. In 1979 the second Backward Classes
Commission, popularly known as Mandal Commission, was constituted under Article 340
of the Constitution to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward
classes and to determine the criteria for defining the socially and educationally backward
classes and to examine the desirability or otherwise of making provision for the
reservation in favour of such backward classes. The commission submitted its report to
the government on December 31, 1980. The commission used 1931 Census data and 11
indicators, grouped under social, educational and economic criteria, for identifying
backward classes. This commission estimated the population of other backward classes
(OBCs) at 52 per cent of the total population. Recommendations of the second Backward
Classes Commission (Mandal report) were implemented by the Government of India on
August 13, 1990, providing inter alia reservation of 27 per cent of the vacancies in civil
posts and services under the central government filled through direct recruitment for
socially and educationally backward classes with effect from August 7, 1990. However,
reservation for OBCs in promotion has not been provided. The reservation rule also
applies to public sector undertakings, financial institutions, including banks, autonomous
bodies, statutory and semi-government bodies and voluntary agencies receiving grants
from the government. Pursuant to the Supreme Court judgement in Indira Sawhney &
Ors vs Union of India on November 16, 1992, the central government constituted a

committee under Justice RP Prasad to determine the criteria for identification of the
socially advanced persons/sections for exclusion of the creamy layer from OBCs and
the criteria suggested by the committee was accepted by the Government of India. The
provisions for reservation in services in favour of SCs/STs and OBCs also include
minorities although in the absence of data it is not possible to assess the impact of such a
reservation on religious minorities.

Reservation in admissions in educational institutions

Education was the first and foremost commandment of Dr BR Ambedkar and he called it
the milk of the lioness. Education is also one of the most important criteria to measure
the forwardness or backwardness of any group of persons. Many social reformers and
princely states of Kolhapur, Baroda and Mysore realised the need for education and they
rendered their contribution in providing educational facilities to the untouchables and
other backward classes. Mahatma Jyoti Rao Phule was the first person in India who
started a school for the untouchables in Pune in 1848. Sahuji Maharaj Bhonsle
encouraged the non-brahmanical classes in every possible way. He provided free
education with lodging, boarding and scholarship to the students belonging to these
communities. At the official level, the step was taken by the Madras government by
framing the Grant-in-Aid Code in 1885 so as to regulate financial aid to the educational
institutions providing special facilities to the students of depressed classes. Under British
India, the provision for extension of education to the depressed classes was made much
later. In 1944 the then ministry of education prepared a scheme of post-matric scholarship
for the students belonging to scheduled castes and it was extended to the scheduled tribes
in 1948. Though after independence, specific guidelines to the states to take special care
of the educational and economic conditions of the weaker sections, particularly those
belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, were given under Article 46, yet
there was no provision to provide reservation in admissions in educational institutions
under the Constitution in the beginning. The government of Madras made rules for
reserving seats for the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes.
However, the validity of the said rule was challenged in State of Madras vs Smt
Champakam Dorairajan (AIR 1951 SC525; 1951 SCR 525) and the Supreme Court
declared such rule as unconstitutional. To overcome the situation arisen after the court
judgement, the Constitution (1st Amendment) Act 1951 was passed by inserting clause
(4) in Article 15. It empowered the state to make special provision for the advancement of
socially and educationally backward classes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. The
then ministry of education, now ministry of human resource development, for the first
time in 1954 wrote to the state governments suggesting that 20 per cent seats should be
reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in admissions in educational
institutions with a provision of five per cent relaxation in minimum qualifying marks
wherever required. Subsequently, this was modified in April 1964 by bifurcating the
existing percentage as 15 per cent for scheduled castes and five per cent for scheduled
tribes with interchangeable provision in the event of non-fulfilment of seats according to
quota. Similar action was taken by the ministry of health and family welfare in respect of
reservation of seats in the universities having medical education facilities and medical
and dental colleges for admission to all postgraduate courses. University Grants

Commission, which was constituted in 1956, made provision towards reservation in

admission in the undergraduate and postgraduate levels in favour of scheduled castes and
scheduled tribes with due relaxation and concession. The percentage of reservation was
revised in 1982 as 15 per cent for scheduled castes and 7.5 per cent for scheduled tribes.
Presently, reservations are available to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in
admissions to the various undergraduate and postgraduate general, technical, medical and
other professional courses in the universities and colleges. In addition to the reservation
facility in admissions, provisions have also been made for freeship, scholarship, coaching
and hostel facilities with a view to strengthening the educational base of scheduled castes
and scheduled tribes.

Constitutional provisions and reservation policy

The Constitution adopted a two-fold strategy for ensuring equality for the depressed
classes. On one hand it provided equality before the law, ensuring that everyone,
irrespective of their caste, will receive equal protection of the law and be treated alike; on
the other hand it empowered the state to make special provisions to promote the
educational and economic interest of the SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities to provide legal
and other safeguards against discrimination in multiple spheres. The different provisions
relating to reservations enshrined in the Constitution are as under:
(I) Article 14 Right to equality: requires the state not to deny any person equality
before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Thus
Article 14 uses the following two expressions:

Equality before law, and

Equal protection of laws. The objective of these expressions is to establish
equality of status as mentioned in the preamble to the Constitution. This
right to equality provides access to public resources, such as drinking water,
well, roads, etc. Thus theConstitution gave the right to equality and made it a
central component of the fundamental rights.

(II) Article 15 Prohibition against discrimination: prohibits discrimination on the

ground of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth. Article 15 was amended by the
Constitution (1st Amendment) Act 1951 and a new clause, (4), was inserted under Article
15 to undo the effect of the Supreme Court decision in State of Madras vs Smt
Champakam Dorairajan, according to which reservation of seats for different
communities on the basis of caste and religion was held invalid. Article 15(4) empowers
the state to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and
educationally backward class of citizen or the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
(III) Article 16 Equality of opportunity in public employment: stipulates the rule of
equality of opportunities in matters of public employment. According to clauses (1), (2)
and (3) of Article 16, no discrimination shall be made only on the grounds of religion,
race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them in respect of any

employment or appointment under the state. However, the principle of equality permitted
a few exceptions. Among other things, it allowed under Article 16(4) reservation of seats
for backward classes of citizens. It states: 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. Article 16(4) was an enabling provision. It
was included as an exception to the general principle of equality of opportunity (Article
16). It did not mandate but certainly permitted the state to reserve seats for backward
classes of citizens in public service. Thus Article 16(4) spoke of backward classes, not
castes, and did not spell out just who constituted these backward classes. Subsequently,
Articles 16(4A) and 16(4B) were also inserted by making amendments in the
Constitution [through the] 81st Amendment Act in 2000 and 85th Amendment Act in
2001 respectively. These clauses were inserted with a view to overcoming the decision of
the honble Supreme Court of India in Indira Sawhney vs Union of India. While Article
16(4A) empowers the state to make provision for reservation in matters of promotion
under the state in favour of SCs and STs which, in the opinion of the state, are not
adequately represented in the services under the state, Article 16(4B) empowers the state
to make provision to fill up the unfilled reserved vacancies which were determined in
accordance with clauses (4) or (4A) of Article 16 by launching a special drive.
Extent to which posts can be reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes/backward
classes The Constitution does not lay down any limit or specific percentage for
reservation in favour of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and backward classes.
Successive decisions of the Supreme Court beginning with Balaji vs State of Mysore
(1963) have fixed a general ceiling of 50 per cent for all reservations taken together.
Judicial pronouncements on this question have a chequered history. In Balaji vs State of
Mysore, the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had rejected the argument that in
the absence of a limitation contained in clause (4) of Article 15 no limit could be
prescribed by the court on the extent of reservation and held: If a provision which is
in the nature of an exception completely excludes the rest of the society, that clearly is
outside the scope of Article 15(4). It would be extremely unrealistic to assume that in
enacting Article 15(4) the Parliament intended to provide that where the advancement of
the backward classes or scheduled castes or tribes was concerned, the fundamental rights
of the citizens constituting the rest of the society were to be absolutely ignored
Speaking generally and in a broad way, a special provision should be less than 50 per
cent; how much less than 50 per cent would depend on the relevant prevailing
circumstances in each case. In Devadasan vs Union of India (1985), the aforesaid rule
of 50 per cent was applied to a case arising under Article 16(4) and on that basis the
carry-forward rule (resulting in reservation in excess of 50 per cent vacancies in any
recruitment year) was struck down. Earlier, in State of Kerala vs NM Thomas (1976),
the correctness of this principle was seriously questioned. Fazal Ali, J observed:
Clause (4) of Article 16 does not fix any limit on the power of the government to make
reservation. Since clause (4) is a part of Article 16 of the Constitution, it is manifest that
the state cannot be allowed to indulge in excessive reservation so as to defeat the policy
contained in Article 16(1). As to what would be a suitable reservation within permissible
limits will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case and no hard and fast rule

can be laid down nor can this matter be reduced to a mathematical formula so as to be
adhered to in all cases. Decided cases of this court have no doubt laid down that the
percentage of reservation should not exceed 50 per cent. As I read the authorities, this is
however a rule of caution and does not exhaust all categories The dominant object of
this provision is to take steps to make inadequate representation adequate.
(IV) Articles 29 and 30 Minorities interests and educational institutions: These two
articles protect the cultural and educational rights of minorities (based on religion and
language) which are summarised below:



Minorities have rights to conserve their distinct language, script or culture;

They have the right to establish and administer educational institutions;
The state has to take certain precautions in case of compulsory acquisition of
property of such minority educational institutions;
The state shall not discriminate such educational institutions while granting
aid; and
Article 29(2) imposes restriction on all educational institutions maintained by
the state or receiving aid out of state funds so as not to deny admission to any
citizen on the ground only of religion, race, caste, language or any of them.
Here the underlying objective is to equip each member of the weaker sections
with the ability to compete with other citizens with dignity on a level playing
Article 46 Promotion of educational and economic interests of SCs, STs and
other weaker sections: Being the most important article under Part IV of the
Constitution (Directive Principles of State Policy), it stipulates that the state
shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of
weaker sections of the people and in particular of scheduled castes and
scheduled tribes and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of
exploitation. The phrase weaker sections of the society has not been
defined under the Constitution. Honble Supreme Court, in the case of
Shantistar Builders vs Narayan Khimalal Totame, directed the central
government to lay down appropriate guidelines regarding the expression
weaker sections of the society. Further, honble Supreme Court, in the
Indira Sawhney case, differentiated the phrase backward class of citizens
mentioned under Article 16(4) from weaker sections of the people of Article
46. According to the apex court, the expression weaker sections of the
people is wider than the expression backward class of citizens or SEBCs or
SCs or STs. It connotes all sections of the society who are rendered weak due
to various causes, including poverty and natural and physical handicaps.
Article 335 Claims of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to services and
posts and maintenance of efficiency of administration: While Article 16(4)
enables the state to make provision for reservations in favour of SCs, STs and
OBCs, Article 335 imposes responsibility on the state to ensure the
maintenance of efficiency of administration. Accordingly, a proviso to Article
335 has been inserted by the Constitution (82nd Amendment Act) 2000 so as
to overcome the crisis arising after the Supreme Court decision in S. Vinod

Kumar vs Union of India. It empowers the state to make any provision in

favour of SCs and STs for the relaxation of marks or lowering of standards for
reservation in promotions.

Concepts of SC, ST and OBC

SC: The term scheduled caste was coined by the Simon Commission in
1927. During the colonial period, the SCs were addressed by various terms.
Ambedkar termed them as depressed class referred to those classes or
categories of person who were poor and exploited, and socially and ritually
degraded, whereas Gandhiji called them as Harijans the children of God.
But since the enactment of the Government of India Act, 1935, they have
been generally referred to as scheduled castes. They are also referred to as
After independence, the Constitution of India made a provision (Article
341) specifying the social groups which were to be treated as SCs by the
Government of India and States. As there is no definition of scheduled
castes in the Constitution, according to Article 341(2), The President may,
with respect to any state or union territory, after consultation with the
governor, specify the castes, races, or tribes which shall for the purposes of
the constitution be deemed to be SCs in relation to that state or union
The President of India passes orders from time to time specifying the names
of SCs in the country. Earlier, these groups were classified on ritual basis,
but now the criteria adopted for the inclusion in the SCs list are social,
economic and educational backwardness, arising out of the stigma of

untouchability. However, a person claiming to be SC should profess

either the Hindu or the Sikh or the Buddhist religion (Muthuswamy
and Brinda, 2002).

ST: The term tribe has never been defined with any scientific precision. Of
course, some superficial and empirical characteristics are attributed to the term,
namely homogeneity, isolation and non-assimilation, territorial integrity,
consciousness of unique identify, animism (now defunct), but religion all
pervasive, equity, multi-functionality of kinship relations, segmentory nature of
the socio-economic units, frequent cooperation for common goals etc.
However, deeper studies pointed out that defining a tribe with such
characteristics in the Indian context is particularly difficult, given the high
degree of social and ethnic diversity that exists in the country and due to
frequent interaction between the tribal and non-tribal (Pathy, 1999; Kosambi,
It is difficult to list the ethnic features that are common to all Indian tribes since
Indias tribal world exhibits a high degree of diversity. After independence,
however, the Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes listed
common features which tribes shared among themselves.
These were:
(i) Tribes live away from the civilized world in the inaccessible part lying in the
forest hills;

(ii) Tribes belong to one of the three stocks Negrito, Australoid or Mongoloid;
(iii) The members of a tribe speak the common dialect;
(iv) Tribe practise primitive religion known as animism in which they worship
ghosts and spirits;
(v) Tribes follow primitive occupations such as hunting and food gathering;
(vi) Tribes are largely meat eaters;
(vii) Tribes are pleasure seekers they are fond of food and drinks (SC/ST
Commission Report, 1952).
However, not all tribes in India share the above features. In fact, it is extremely
difficult to find a tribe with all above features. There are significant social and
cultural differences that exist among the tribal people in India. Thus, it is
difficult to specify the exact features of a tribal society.
After independence, the Constitution of India made a provision (Article 342)
specifying the social groups which were to be treated as scheduled tribes (STs)
for official purpose. According to Article 342, The President may, with respect
to any state or union territory and where it is a state, after consultation with the
governor, by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or
parts of, or groups within tribes or tribal communities which shall for the
purpose of this constitution, be deemed to be STs in relation to that state or
union territory.
Unlike SC a person of the scheduled tribe may profess any religion
(Muthuswamy and Brinda, 2002). In 1971, the list of scheduled tribes

contained 527 names. However, within the tribe a further distinction was made
during the Fifth Five-Year Plan. Those STs which were educationally and
socially more backward and nearly isolated, surviving at pre-agricultural level,
and had a declining or nearly constant population, were placed separately in a
list of primitive tribes. There are 75 such communities in India. Some examples
are Jarwa, Onge, Great Andamanese and Sentinel of Andaman Island.
A person not belonging to SC/ST by birth will not be deemed to be a member
of SC/ST by virtue of marriage with a person belonging to SC/ST. Similarly, a
person belonging to SC/ST by birth will continue to belong to that category
even after marriage with a person not belonging to SC/ST. If a SC person
converted to a religion other than Hinduism/Sikhism/Buddhism, reconverts
himself back to these religions, he will be deemed to have reverted to his
original SC status, if he is accepted by the member of that particular caste as
one among them.

OBC: The term backward classes, as originally used around 1919 by political
leaders, referred to a section of population which was backward in a socioeconomic sense. It did not limit itself to the matrix of caste. The term
backward classes encompassed the depressed classes, the aboriginal tribes and
other backward classes (OBCs).
Even the Constitution is not clear about the OBCs. While the constitution
clearly says that special provisions must be made for the SCs and STs, it does
not mention the OBCs. It only refers to social and educationally backward
classes of citizens, in addition to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. In

clause 4 of Article 15 regarding the prohibition of discrimination, it says that

nothing in this article or clause 2 of Article 29 shall prevent the state from
making any special provision for the advancement of any social and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes and the
scheduled tribes. Thus, the state is permitted to make provision for the
following: socially and educationally backward classes of citizens; scheduled
castes; and scheduled tribes.
Again, in Article 16 which provides for equality of opportunity in matters of
public employment, the clause 4 says, nothing in this article shall prevent
parliament 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 service under the state.
Thus, though Constitution used the qualifying phrase socially and
educationally in Article 15(4), the first obstacle before the state was to define
backward classes. As SCs and STs are listed on separate categories, identifying
backwardness purely on the basis of caste or Hindu religion was unjustifiable
as groups could be backward in non-Hindu and intermediate caste communities
However, the Constitution provides for the appointment of a commission to
investigate the conditions of backward classes (Article 340).
The Kaka Sahaeb Kalelkar Commission was appointed in 1953,
with the following terms of appointment:
(a r) To determine the tests by which any particular class or group of people
can be called backward;

(b) To prepare a list of such backward communities for the whole of India;
(c) To examine the difficulties of backward classes and the recommend steps to
be taken for their amelioration.
The Commission submitted its report in 1955 and used four criteria for
identifying the OBCs:
(a) Low social position in the traditional caste hierarchy of Hindu society;
(b) Lack of educational progress among majority of a particular
(c) Inadequate representation in government services;
(d) Inadequate representation in trade, commerce, and industry.
The Kalelkar Commission submitted its report to the government in 1955, but
the tests recommended by the commission appeared to the government to be
too vague and wide to be of much practical value. The report had considered 70
per cent of the Indian population as backward comprising a list of 2,399 castes
and communities. The Centre also did not accept caste as criteria for defining
social and educational backwardness.
Thus, the Centre finally decided in 1961 not to draw up any list for OBCs and
advised the states to draw up their own lists using economic ather than caste
criteria. A number of states initiated process for improving the conditions of
backward classes.
The government of Bihar introduced the policy of job reservation for 128
backward castes and communities in 1978. It fixed an income ceiling of Rs

12,000 per annum per family as the qualifying criteria. Earlier in 1972, a
backward classes commission appointed by Karnataka Government with L.G.
Havanur as chairman, however, had rejected the criteria of income and
occupation and prepared list of backward classes based on the criteria of caste
and economic standing.
Before the union government implemented the Mandal Commission
recommendations, there were eight states which had made reservations for the
backward classes: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka,
Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Despite instruction from
the Centre for economic criteria, most of the states however, decided to adopt
caste as their basic criteria for drawing the list of backward classes.
The judiciary has also been frequently called upon to deliberate on the issue of
the identification of backward classes. In the Balaji vs State of Mysore Case
1963, the Supreme Court rejected the specification of backward classes on the
basis of caste, as had been done by the Mysore Government.
The court held the view that though the caste of a group may be relevant in
identifying its backward class status, the importance of caste should not be
exaggerated. It felt that caste was not synonymous with class. However, in the
Rajindran case 1968, the judiciary was of the view that a caste is also a class
of citizens. Again in the Periakaruppan case (1973), it said that a caste
has always been recognised as a class.
In 1978, the Government of India appointed the Second Backward Classes
Commission under the chairperson of B.P. Mandal. The Commission submitted

its report in 1980 observed that backwardness is both social and educational.
Caste is also a class of people.
In case a caste as a whole is found socially and educationally backward,
reservation for the entire caste can be allowed. The commission relying on the
1937 census figure of caste determined that OBCs were 52 per cent of the total
population. It took into account both Hindu and non-Hindu population in
arriving at the future of OBCs in India. The Commission prepared state-wise
lists of OBCs comprising 3,742 castes and communities.
The Commission adopted 11 criteria in all to determine the backwardness of a
specific caste/class four social criteria, three educational criteria and four
economic criteria. The weightage was given to each indicator: the social
indicators were given a weightage of three points, the educational indicators
two points and the economic indicators were accorded one point. The total
value was 22 points. Caste which secured the score of 50 per cent, that is 11
points or above, were listed as backward.
Some of the major recommendations of the Commission were:
(i) Reservation of 27 per cent jobs for OBCs in Central Government institutions
and also in educational institutions;
(ii) 27 per cent reservation for promotion at all levels;
(iii) Carry over period of three years for unfilled reserved quota; and
(iv) Age relaxation for OBCs should be similar to that of the SCs and STs.

In August 1990, after it was put in cold storage for 10 years, V.P. Singh
government declared reservation of 27 per cent seats in government services on
the basis of this report. However, this was challenged as unconstitutional.

Extent of Application
The reservation is applicable to:
(a) All services/posts in the non-industrial as well as in the industrial
establishments under the control of the Government of India;
(b) Work-charged posts except those required for emergencies like
flood/accident, relief etc., per cent of reservation will be as for Groups C and
(c) Daily-rated staff, though reservation orders do not apply in toto, SC/ST
candidates will be recruited in such a way that their total representation does
not fall below the prescribed percentage; and
(d) Casual workers appointed against regular posts. Shortfall will be adjusted
by appointment of SC/ST candidates from outside (Muthuswamy and Brinda,
However, reservation is not applicable to: (a) posts in Department of Space and
trainees under the Department of Atomic Energy; and (b) ex-cadre posts. But if
they are in existence for a long time, the question of including such posts in the
cadre should be considered; and (c) posts filled by deputation. But eligible
SC/ST candidates should be duly considered; if the number of posts is fairly
substantial, a fair percentage should be filled by the SCs/STs subject to
availability; and (d) certain categories of scientific and technical personnel

(earlier exempted from the reservation provision) in respect of posts up to and

including lowest grade in group A.

Relaxations/concessions admissible to SCs/STs in direct

recruitments are:
(i) Age:
Maximum age limit up to five years for all posts.
(ii) Minimum Standard in Examination Interview:
If adequate number of SC/ST candidates satisfying the minimum standard is
not available, shortfall will be adjusted by relaxing the minimum standard,
provided they are not considered unsuitable. There will be no relaxation in
qualification and/or minimum number of marks/grade.
(iii) Less than Minimum Standard:
In the case of non-technical and technical group C and D filled by direct
recruitment, instead of through written examination, if SC/ST candidates are
not available even under relaxed standards, shortfall will be adjusted by
appointment of the best among the remaining SC/ST candidates with minimum
educational qualifications.
(iv) Exemption from Fee:
Candidates are fully exempted from fees for admission to any examination for

(v) Direct Recruitment against Reserved Vacancies:

Separate interview will be held for SC/ST candidates so that they are
not adjudged along with general candidates (Muthuswamy and Brinda,

Reservation in Promotions
The percentage of reservations in promotions wherever applicable is the same
as for direct recruitment on all-India basis by open competition. Reservations
are applicable for promotion in all grades and services in which the element of
direct recruitment, if any, does not exceed 75 per cent.
Promotion/appointments to selection grade posts reservation orders are
applicable, as for selection-cum-seniority/selection by merit method or
seniority-cum-fitness method.
Reservations in promotions for SCs and STs will continue till such time as the
representation of each category in each cadre reaches the prescribed percentage
of reservation (OM, dated 13/8/1997)

Relaxation/concessions restored from 3/10/2000 as below:

(i) age:
Where an upper age limit not exceeding 50 years is prescribed for promotion, it
should be relaxed by five years;
(ii) Departmental Competitive Examination:

SC/ST candidates who have not acquired the general qualifying standard
should also be considered for promotion, if they are not considered unfit for
such promotion, by relaxing the qualifying standards in their favour; and
(iii) Departmental Qualifying Examination:
Suitable relaxation in the qualifying standard in such examinations should be
made in the case of SC/ST candidates (Muthuswamy and Brinda, 2002).
An officer, liaison officer, in the rank of deputy secretary is nominated in each
ministry to ensure compliance of the reservation orders issued in favour of SCs
and STs, to ensure prompt disposal of grievances and to scrutinize and
consolidate statistical data. Liaison officers are also to be nominated in the
offices of head of departments and in each attached/subordinate offices (ibid.).
For OBCs, reservations exist only in direct recruitment 27 per cent in limit
posts/services are reserved for OBCs. No reservation in promotions.
Scientific/technical posts for conducting, organizing, guiding and directing
research, which are above the lowest group A grade are exempted from the
purview of reservations (OM, dated 13/5/1994) (ibid.).
Relaxations and concessions available to OBCs are:
(i) Age-limit for direct recruitment three years, for all posts;
(ii) Meritorious candidates not to be adjusted against reservation OBC
candidates recruited on the basis of merit on the same standards as for general
candidates will not be adjusted against the 27 per cent reservation; and

(iii) Minimum standard in examination/interview in respect of written examination/interview for direct recruitment, relaxation of standards will be allowed
for OBC candidates as in the case of SC/ST.
Separate liaison officers for OBC, in the rank of deputy secretary in charge or
administration or an officer of equivalent rank in each ministry/department
attached and subordinate offices will be appointed as liaison officers separately
to look after work relating to matters of reservation for OBCs (OM dated

Institutional arrangements to implement and monitor

the reservation policy
The central government has developed administrative mechanisms for regulating,
monitoring and implementing the reservation policy and other programmes. At the
national level there are the ministry of social justice and empowerment, ministry of tribal
affairs, ministry of minority affairs and Planning Commission (Backward Caste Division)
asthe nodal set-up for policy formulation, finalisation and implementation of the
programmes for the development of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward
classes and minorities and overseeing their overall development. These ministries and the
Planning Commission also carry out evaluation and monitoring of the various educational
and welfare schemes/ programmes meant for the SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities.
Besides, the department of personnel and training (DOP&T) in the ministry of personnel,
public grievances and pensions (Government of India) regulates and monitors the
reservation policy in public services. Its primary responsibilities are to enforce the rules
and make changes thereof whenever warranted and also monitor the fulfilment of the
reserved quotas. As regards reservation policy in admissions in educational institutions,
the ministry of human resource development (dept of secondary and higher education) is
the nodal authority. Further, in each ministry/department and government-funded
organisation, there are separate administrative units for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes
and OBCs with liaison officers who are responsible for ensuring that instructions issued
by the government on reservations for SCs, STs or OBCs are strictly complied with. The
department of personnel and training, through administrative heads of the ministries and
organisations, monitors and regulates reservations at the national level. In addition, there
are the undermentioned independent institutions at the field level to ensure proper
implementation of the reservation policy as approved by the government as also to
monitor the impact of various schemes/ programmes for the welfare and development of
SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities:



National Commission for Scheduled Castes: set up under Article 338 of the
Constitution as a high-level independent constitutional body to investigate and
monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the scheduled castes
under the Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under
any order of the government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes: set up under Article 338A of the
Constitution as a high-level independent constitutional body to investigate and
monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the scheduled tribes
under the Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under
any order of the government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards.
National Commission for Backward Classes: In pursuance of the direction of
the Supreme Court, the Government of India enacted the National Commission
for Backward Classes Act 1993 (Act No. 27 of 1993) and set up the National
Commission for Backward Classes at the centre. Section 9(1) of the act provides

that it shall examine the requests for inclusion of any class of citizens as a
backward class in the lists and hear complaints of over-inclusion or underinclusion of any backward class in such lists and tender such advice to the central
government as it deems appropriate. Under Section 9(2) of the act, the advice of
the commission shall ordinarily be binding upon the central government. Section
11 provides for periodic revision of lists by the central government.

National Commission for Minorities: set up to perform its statutory functions

and to safeguard the interest of five religious minority communities i.e. Muslims,
Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis which are notified under the National
Commission for Minorities Act 1992 and also to monitor and evaluate the
development of minorities under the union and states as well as monitor the
working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution and laws enacted by
Parliament and the state legislatures besides making recommendations for the
effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interest of
minorities by the central government or the state governments.

Reservations available to socially and economically backwards

As stated in the previous paragraphs, reservations in employment are available to
scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes. Similarly, reservations in
educational institutions are available to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
However, Moily Committee recommended reservations to other backward classes in
educational institutions, which has been accepted by the government. No separate
reservations are available to the religious and linguistic minorities excepting those
included in the lists of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

Reservations in employment under the central government

While reservation for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes is generally fixed in
proportion to the population of SCs and STs in the respective state/UT, for OBCs it is
fixed taking into account the proportion of their population in the concerned state/UT
subject to a maximum of 27 per cent and the fact that total reservations for SCs, STs and
OBCs should not exceed the limit of 50 per cent. Direct recruitment in Group C and D
posts normally attracts candidates from the locality or region. Reservation is not
applicable in certain categories of posts in departments of space and atomic energy,
scientific and technical personnel, defence, higher judiciary, etc. Pursuant to the Supreme
Court orders in Indira Sawhney & Ors vs Union of India & Ors [writ petition (civil) No.
930 of 1990], the Government of India appointed an Expert Committee to recommend
criteria for exclusion of the socially advanced persons/sections (creamy layer) from the
benefits of reservation for other backward classes in civil posts and services under the
Government of India. On the recommendations of the Expert Committee, Government of

India, vide DOP&T, OM No. 36012/22/93-Estt (SCT) dated September 8,1993, provided
reservation for socially and educationally backward classes as under:

Twenty-seven per cent of the vacancies in civil posts and services under the
Government of India, to be filled through direct recruitment, shall be reserved for
the other backward classes;
Candidates belonging to OBCs recruited on the basis of merit in an open
competition on the same standards prescribed for the general candidates shall not
be adjusted against the reservation quota of 27 per cent;
The aforesaid reservation shall not apply to other backward classes belonging to
the creamy layer;
The OBCs, for the purpose of the aforesaid reservation, would comprise the
castes and communities which are common to both the lists in the report of the
Mandal Commission and the state governments lists;
The reservations provided to SCs, STs and OBCs put together do not exceed 50
per cent of vacancies arising in a year;
No reservation for OBCs in promotion;
In respect of written examinations and interviews, in order to fulfil the quota
earmarked to OBCs, relaxation of standards be provided to OBC candidates as in
the case of SC/ST candidates;
Relaxation of marks for grant of non-technical scholarships/book awards to
OBCs; and
Three-year age relaxation would be given to the candidates of other backward
classes for direct recruitment over and above the prescribed age limit. The above
instructions relating to reservations for OBCs have been extended to autonomous
bodies, statutory and semi-government bodies and voluntary agencies receiving
grants from government. To facilitate the fulfilment of the reservation quota,
further concessions are given to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe candidates in
the form of relaxation of the maximum age limit prescribed for
recruitment/selection, and relaxation of standards, including relaxation of
experience. Many of these concessions/relaxation provided for direct recruitment
are also now extended to promotions.

Literacy and educational status of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes

and other backward classes
Framers of our Constitution were aware of the need for the state to promote education
amongst all and especially amongst weaker sections of the population. Hence a number
of safeguards have been provided in the Constitution under Article 15(4), Article 29(1),
Article 46, for educational development of the weaker sections of society. The Supreme
Court of India in its judgement in the Unnikrishnan case (1993) held that all citizens have
a fundamental right to education up to 14 years of age. Accordingly, the Constitution was
amended to make education a fundamental right of all children between six-14 years.
Recent estimates of literacy at the national level have shown a significant increase from

52 per cent in 1991 to 64.8 per cent in 2001. The increase has been significant amongst
educationally backward states. Large-scale expansion of formal primary education in the
early 1990s and the innovative strategies of primary educational development projects
like DPEP (District Primary Education Programme) have contributed substantially to this
increase. Though female literacy has also grown during this period, yet female literacy
among scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and Muslims is 41.90 per cent, 34.76 per cent
and 50.1 per cent respectively against the national average of 53.7 per cent. Among
minorities, the lowest literacy rate is in the Muslim communities, which is 59.1 per cent
against the national average of 64.8 per cent. However, the literacy rate among Muslims
is higher than the literacy rate of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Though the
participation of the Dalits, tribals, women and minorities has improved in the last five
decades, the unequal development in the hierarchical social order continues to be
reflected in the indicators of educational status of various communities.With the
improvement in the literacy rate, enrolment of the students at the primary stage has also
gone up. The enrolment of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students has been
progressively higher than their proportion in the population.Though there has been
overall improvement in the literacy rate and enrolment at the primary stage, there are still
wide gaps in the educational levels of religious minorities. The relative position of
different religious communities with regard to their educational level varies vis--vis the
national average. Muslims (65.31 per cent) are better off at the primary level of education
but their proportion slides down at the senior secondary (4.53 per cent) and graduation
level (3.60 per cent). As against this, while Christians at the primary level (45.79 per
cent) are lower than the national average, their share increases at the senior secondary
(8.70 per cent) and graduation (8.71 per cent) level. Other religions follow almost the
national average level.The reasons for the wide variation in the educational levels of
different communities could be low enrolment and/ or low female literacy rate and/or
high dropout rates at the primary and secondary stages. Further, among those remaining
in school, the majority of them barely attain the educational standard expected of them
due to the lack of infrastructure facilities in the schools and/or poor quality of education
available, particularly in rural and hilly and backward areas. In such a situation, children
belonging to the socially and economically poor families suffer most and remain at a
disadvantageous position vis--vis those attaining proper educational standards within
their communities. In institutions of higher education, the scheduled castes and scheduled
tribes are not present in proportion to their population. While the increasing share of
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in public services shows that reservations in
government posts and public services have enabled these communities to be more
adequately represented, it also means that there is a much smaller pool of candidates from
among whom these positions are being filled. In other words, against 10 per cent
scheduled caste graduates, about 14 per cent of officers in Groups A and B are coming
from this group. Similar may be the situation with the other backward classes and
minorities. This shows that there is an urgent need to increase the pool of students
receiving quality education and then opting for and qualifying for graduation and
postgraduation programmes amongst the socially and economically backward
irrespective of caste or religion.

Views of the state/UT governments on reservations

During the visits of the commission to the states/UTs the commission, in addition to the
official meetings, had inter alia interactions with the chief ministers and governors of
certain states and the views expressed on the issue of reservation during these visits are as
Education is the only means to address the problem of reservation in services
and those who are economically poor should be provided with scholarships
and other facilities to enable them to continue their education, etc.
Quality of education should be improved right from the school stage.
Exclusion of communities from the Scheduled lists should be a continuous
process and decadal surveys should be carried out regularly to review these
lists to avoid misuse of reservation policy.
Reservations to the deprived sections of society should be restricted to one
generation only
Concept of the creamy layer may be introduced for SCs and STs on the pattern
of OBCs so as to ensure that the most backward among them could also derive
benefits from the reservations earmarked.
Reservation should be extended to the poorest in society irrespective of the
religion one pursues.
(vii) Teaching in modern subjects besides Urdu and religious education should be
introduced in madrassas; and
(viii) There is need for reservation in the private sector.
Reservation as a policy has been a matter of debate since we achieved independence.
Reservation as a tool for socio-economic upliftment was adopted as a short-term
measure for specific categories of people who for various reasons were discriminated
and deprived. In this context, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in his communication
addressed to the chief ministers dated June 27, 1961 inter alia observed as under: I
have referred above to efficiency and to our getting out of our traditional ruts. This
necessitates our getting out of the old habits of reservations and particular privileges
being given to this caste or that group It is true that we are tied up with certain rules
and conventions about helping the scheduled castes and tribes. They deserve help but,
even so, I dislike any kind of reservation, more particularly in services. I react
strongly against anything which leads to inefficiency and second-rate standards. I
want my country to be a first-class country in everything. The moment we encourage
the second-rate, we are lost. He also observed: If we go in for reservations on
communal and caste bases, we swamp the bright and able people and remain
secondrate or third-rate. I am grieved to learn of how far this business of reservation
has gone based on communal considerations. It has amazed me to learn that even
promotions are based sometimes on communal or caste considerations. This way lies
not only folly but disaster. Let us help the backward groups by all means but never at
the cost of efficiency. 14. In view of the foregoing, the commission has considered
the following viewpoints:

The basic criteria for reservation should be socioeconomic backwardness with a

foolproof arrangement for issue of certificates. In fact, religion or caste should not be
the basis of reservation. Also, Article 16(4) should be the basis for providing
reservation benefits to minority groups who are a socio-economically backward class
of citizens.
The policy of reservation must be consistent with the objective of reservation so that
the same does not outlast its constitutional object and allow a vested interest to
develop and perpetuate itself. There should be no need for reservation or preferential
treatment once equality is achieved. In fact, it should be temporary in concept, limited
in duration, conditional in application and specific in object. Any attempt to
perpetuate reservation and upset the constitutional mandate of equality is destructive
of liberty and fraternity and all the basic values enshrined in the Constitution. A
balance has therefore to be maintained between the competing values and the rival
claims and interests so as to achieve equality and freedom for all.
The concept of reservation is an exception and therefore it should aim at the
achievement of self-abolition i.e by way of the elimination of backwardness and
bringing the backwards economically and socially upward. The sooner the need for
reservation is brought to an end, the better it would be for the nation as a whole. The
sooner we redress all disabilities and wipe out all traces of historical discrimination,
and stop identifying classes of citizens by the stereotyped, stigmatised and
ignominious label of backwardness, the stronger, healthier and better united we will
emerge as a nation founded on diverse customs, practices, religions and languages but
knitted together by innumerable binding strands of common culture and tradition.
Reservation was adopted as the means to provide opportunities in employment.
While the weaker sections should be given due opportunity, it is necessary to break
the vicious circle of limited sections cornering the opportunities. Presently, the
concept of the creamy layer in employment is applicable in case of other backward
castes and not for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. This anomaly needs
rectification, as while the sections of minorities belonging to SCs/STs are availing of
the reservation facility irrespective of their economic status, the minorities included in
the list of the Other Backward Castes do not get this facility. Therefore there is need
to have a uniform approach in this regard by excluding the creamy layer from the
purview of reservation in all cases, including scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
Further, if an individual has benefited from reservation in the matter of employment,
it may be worthwhile to consider his next generation for educational benefits only.
After 60 years of independence and 10 five-year plans which have focused on special
incentives and programmes based on the policy of positive discrimination, it is
necessary to step forward, remove the differential approach based on caste, class,
religion, and to adopt uniform strategies for the socially, economically and
educationally poor. Reservation should be limited to them. Similarly, reservation on
promotion is admissible to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and not to other

backward castes. Since sections of the minorities are included in the lists of
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes on one hand and Other Backward Castes on
the other, this has resulted in some anomaly. It is necessary that the position is
reviewed and a uniform approach in reservation is adopted, limited to entry point only
and not promotions. Since the existing lists of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes,
Other Backward Classes, have not been scientifically prepared with proper survey
and data on the socio-economic status of a particular caste or class, the entire system
of reservation as also of the SC, ST, OBC lists needs to be overhauled. Since Below
Poverty Line (BPL) lists are being prepared on the basis of social/educational and
economic criteria, these are more scientific. Changes/revisions are possible
periodically in this, as they are prepared after a regular survey which is not the case
with SC, ST, OBC categories. This should be taken into account for making any
recommendations regarding criteria/ reservation benefits for backward sections.In
India, where there is still competition for admission to schools at the primary level
and quality education is a distant dream, the limited resources and facilities that are
available must be distributed fairly. There is need to provide greater opportunities for
quality education at the primary and secondary level (including coaching classes) to
equip the weaker sections for competing on merit along with others in recruitment to
public employment. Universal Elementary Education (UEE) and Sarva Shiksha
Abhiyan (SSA) should make this possible..


The Mandal Commission in India was established in 1979 by the Janata Party
government under Prime Minister Morarji Desai with a mandate to "identify the socially
or educationally backward." It was headed by Indian parliamentarian Bindheshwari
Prasad Mandal to consider the question of seat reservations and quotas for people to
redress caste discrimination, and used eleven social, economic, and educational indicators
to determine "backwardness." In 1980, the commission's report affirmed the affirmative
action practice under Indian law whereby members of lower castes (known as Other
Backward Classes and Scheduled Castes and Tribes) were given exclusive access to a
certain portion of government jobs and slots in public universities, and recommended
changes to these quotas, increasing them by 27% to 49.5%.

Setting up of Mandal Commission

The plan to set up another commission was taken by the Morarji Desai government in
1978 as per the mandate of the Constitution of India under article 340 for the purpose of
Articles like 15and 16. The decision was made official by the president on January 1,
1979. The commission is popularly known as the Mandal Commission, its chairman
being B.P. Mandal.

Criteria to identify OBC

The Mandal Commission adopted various methods and techniques to collect the
necessary data and evidence. The commission adopted 11 criteria which could be
grouped under three major headings : social, educational and economic in order to
identify OBCs.

Castes/classes considered as socially backward by others.

Castes/classes which mainly depend on manual labour for their livelihood.
Castes/classes where at least 25 per cent females and 10 per cent males above
the state average get married at an age below 17 years in rural areas and at
least 10 per cent females and 5 per cent males do so in urban areas.
Castes/classes where participation of females in work is at least 25 per cent
above the state average.

Castes/classes where the number of children in the age group of 515 years
who never attended school is at least 25 per cent above the state average.


Castes/classes where the rate of student drop-out in the age group of 515
years is at least 25 percent above the state average.
Castes/classes amongst whom the proportion of matriculates is at least 25 per
cent below the state average.

(viii) Castes/classes where the average value of family assets is at least 25 per cent
below the state average.
Castes/classes where the number of families living in kuccha houses is at least
25 per cent above the state average.
Castes/classes where the source of drinking water is beyond half a kilometer
for more than 50 percent of the households.
Castes/classes where the number of households having taken consumption
loans is at least 25 percent above the state average. Also known as "Creamy
layer," this criteria of separation is ignored by the government which is known
as the most controversial issue of reservation.

Weighting indicators:
As the above three groups are not of equal importance for the purpose, separate
weightage was given to indicators in each group. All the Social indicators were given
a weightage of 3 points each, educational indicators were given a weightage of 2
points each and economic indicators were given a weightage of 1 point each.
Economic, in addition to Social and Educational Indicators, were considered
important as they directly flowed from social and educational backwardness. This
also helped to highlight the fact that socially and educationally backward classes are
economically backward also. It will be seen from the values given to each indicator,
the total score adds up to 22. All these 11 indicators were applied to all the castes
covered by the survey for a particular state. As a result of this application, all castes
which had a score of 50 % (i.e. 11 points) were listed as socially and educationally
backward and the rest were treated as 'advanced'.

Observations and Findings

The commission estimated that 54% of the total population (excluding SCs and STs),
belonging to 3,743 different castes and communities were backward. Figures of
caste-wise population are not available beyond. So the commission used 1931 census
data to calculate the number of OBCs. The population of Hindu OBCs was derived by
subtracting from the total population of Hindus, the population of SC and ST and that
of forward Hindu castes and communities, and it worked out to be 52 per cent.
Assuming that roughly the proportion of OBCs amongst non-Hindus was of the same
order as amongst the Hindus, population of non-Hindu OBCs was also considered as
52 percent.

Assuming that a child from an advanced class family and that of a backward class
family had the same intelligence at the time of their birth, it is obvious that owing to vast
differences in social, cultural and environmental factors, the former will beat the latter by
lengths in any competitive field. Even if a backward class childs intelligence quotient
was much higher as compared to the child of advanced class, chances are that the former
will lag far behind the latter in any competition where selection is made on the basis of
. In fact, what we call merit in an elitist society is an amalgam of native endowments
and environmental privileges. A child from an advanced class family and that of a
backward class family are not equals in any fair sense of the term and it will be unfair to
judge them by the same yard-stick. The conscience of a civilized society and the dictates
of social justice demand that merit and equality are not turned into a fetish and the
element of privilege is duly recognised and discounted for when unequal are made to
run the same race.
To place the amalgams of open caste conflicts in proper historical context, the study
done by Tata institute of Social Sciences Bombay observes. The British rulers produced
many structural disturbances in the Hindu caste structure, and these were contradictory in
nature and impact . Thus, the various impacts of the British rule on the Hindu caste
system, viz., near monopolisation of jobs, education and professions by the literati castes,
the Western concepts of equality and justice undermining the Hindu hierarchical
dispensation, the phenomenon of Sanskritization, genteel reform movement from above
and militant reform movements from below, emergence of the caste associations with a
new role set the stage for the caste conflicts in modern India. Two more ingredients
which were very weak in the British period, viz.,

The report of the commission was submitted in December 1990. Following are the
recommendations as stated in the report. It may appear the upliftment of Other Backward
Classes is part of the larger national problem of the removal of mass poverty. This is only
partially correct. The deprivation of OBCs is a very special case of the larger national
issue: here the basic question is that of social and educational backwardness and poverty
is only a direct consequence of these two crippling caste-based handicaps. As these
handicaps are embedded in our social structure, their removal will require far reaching
structural changes. No less important will be changes in the perception of the problems of
OBCs by the ruling classes of the country.

Quantum and Scheme of Reservations

Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes constitute 22.5% of the countrys population.
Accordingly, a pro-rata reservation of 22.5% has been made for them in all services and

public sector undertakings under the Central Government. In the States also, reservation
for SCs and STs is directly proportional to their population in each State. As stated in the
last Chapter (Para 12.22) the population of OBCs, both Hindu and non-Hindu, is around
52% of the total population of India. Accordingly 52% of all post under the Central
Government should be reserved for them, but this provision may go against the law laid
down in a number of Supreme Court judgments wherein it has been held that the total
quantum of reservations under Articles 15(4) and 16(4) of the Constitution should be
below 50%. In view of this the proposed reservation for OBCs would have to be pegged
at a figure which, when added to 22.5% of SCs and STs, remain below 50%. In view of
this legal constrain, the commission is obliged to recommend a reservation of 27% only,
even though their population us almost twice this figure.
States which have already introduced reservation for OBCs exceeding 27%, will remain
unaffected by this recommendation.
With the above general recommendation regarding the quantum of reservation, the
Commission proposes the following over-all scheme of reservation for OBCs:(1) Candidates belonging to OBCs recruited on the basis of merit in an open competition
should not be adjusted against their reservation quota of 27%.
(2) The above reservation should also be made available to promotion quota at all levels.
(3) Reserved quota remaining unfilled should be carried forward for a period of three
years and deserved thereafter.
(4) Relaxation in the upper age limit for direct recruitment should be extended in the
same manner as done in case of SCs and STs.
(5) A roster system for each category of posts should be adopted by the concerned
authorities in the same manner as presently done in respect of SC and ST candidates.
The above scheme of reservations in its too should be made applicable to all recruitment
to public sector undertakings both under the Central and State Governments, as also to
nationalized banks.
All private sector undertakings which have received financial assistance from the
Government in one form or the other should also be obliged to recruit personnel on the
aforesaid basis.
All universities and affiliated colleges should also be covered by the above scheme of
To give proper effect to these recommendations, it is imperative that adequate statutory
provisionsare made by the Government to amend the existing enactments, rules,
procedure, etc. to the extent they are not in consonance with the same.

Arguments against reservations

The opponents of the issue argue:
Allocating quotas on the basis of caste is a form of racial discrimination, and contrary to
the right to equality. Although the exact relation between caste and race is far from well

As a consequence of legislating to provide reservations for Christians and Muslim,

religious minorities in all government education institutions will be introduced which is
contrary to the ideas of secularism, and is a form of anti-discrimination on the basis of
Most often, only economically sound people (and rather rich) from the so-called lower
castes will make use of most of the reserved seats, thus counteracting the spirit of
reservations. Political parties know reservations are no way to improve the lot of the poor
and the backward. They support them because of self-interest of the creamy layer, who
use the reservations to further their own family interests, and as a political flag of
achievement during election campaigns. In fact, several studies show that the OBC class
is quite comparable with the general caste in terms of annual per capita consumption
expenditure, and the top strata of OBC is ahead in a host of consumption areas.
The quality of these elite institutes may go down, because merit is severely being
compromised by reserving seats for certain caste-based communities.
There are no efforts made to give proper primary education to truly deprived classes so
there is no need to reserve seats for higher studies. The government schools in India have
absolutely no comparison to the public schools in the developed countries, and only about
65% of the Indian population is literate. The critics argue that "reservation" only in higher
institutions and jobs, without improving primary and secondary education, cannot solve
this problem.
The government is dividing people on the basis of castes for political advantages.
The caste system is kept alive through these measures. Instead of coming up with
alternative innovative ideas which make sure equal representation at the same time
making the caste system irrelevant, the decision is only fortifying the caste system.
The autonomy of the educational institutes are lost. Not everyone from the so-called
upper classes are rich, and not all from so called lower classes are poor. The reservation
policy of the Indian Congress will create a huge unrest in the Indian society. Providing
quotas on the basis of caste and not on the basis of merit will deter the determination of
many educated and deserving students of India. Multinational companies will be deterred
by this action of the government, and foreign investment in India may dry down, hurting
the growth of the Indian economy. Doubtless, urgent actions to improve the lot of the
majority, which has not benefited from development not achieved after 55 years of
reservations for scheduled castes are essential. But this must not hazard improving the
economys competitiveness in a very competitive world. There are already talks of
reservations in the private sector. If even after providing so many facilities to reserved
categories during education, if there is no adequate representation of those people in the
work force, there must be some problems with the education system.
Critics of the Mandal Commission argue that it is unfair to accord people special
privileges on the basis of caste, even in order to redress traditional caste discrimination.
They argue that those that deserve the seat through merit will be at a disadvantage. They
reflect on the repercussions of unqualified candidates assuming critical positions in
society (doctors, engineers, etc.). As the debate on OBC reservations spreads, a few
interesting facts which raise pertinent question are already apparent. To begin with, do we
have a clear idea what proportion of our population is OBC? According to the Mandal

Commission (1980) it is 52 percent. According to 2001 Indian Census, out of India's

population of 1,028,737,436 the Scheduled Castes comprise 166,635,700 and Scheduled
Tribes 84,326,240, that is 16.2% and 8.2% respectively. There is no data on OBCs in the
census. However, according to National Sample Survey's 1999-2000 round around 36 per
cent of the country's population is defined as belonging to the Other Backward Classes
(OBC). The proportion falls to 32 per cent on excluding Muslim OBCs. A survey
conducted in 1998 by National Family Health Statistics (NFHS) puts the proportion of
non-Muslim OBCs as 29.8 per cent. The NSSO data also shows that already 23.5 per cent
of college seats are occupied by OBCs. That's just 8.6 per cent short of their share of
population according to the same survey. Other arguments include that entrenching the
separate legal status of OBCs and SC/STs will perpetuate caste differentiation and
encourage competition among communities at the expense of national unity. They believe
that only a small new elite of educated Dalits, Adivasis, and OBCs benefit from
reservations, and that such measures do nothing to lift the mass of people out of
backwardness and poverty.

Arguments offered in support of reservations

People who support reservations keenly invite all the anti-reservationists to lead the life
of a backward class citizen and live within the means that they have for themselves. It is
their contention that in a experimental set-up like this the differences in
achievement/performance would disappear or reduce down to experimental
errors/random error. Underlying idea being that everyone is born equal but into an
unequal circumstances. And when the circumstances have been a result of a social system
then the system either needs to be abandoned or reformed.
Reservations are a political necessity in India because vast influential sections of voting
population see reservations as beneficial to themselves. All governments have supported
maintaining and/or increasing reservations. Reservations are legal and binding. As shown
by Gujjar agitations (Rajasthan, 20072008), increasing reservations is also essential for
peacekeeping in India.
Although Reservation schemes do undermine the quality of education but still affirmative
Action schemes are in place in many countries including USA, South Africa, Malaysia,
Brazil etc. It was researched in Harvard University that Affirmative Action programmes
are beneficial to the under-privileged. The studies said that Blacks who enter elite
institutions with lower test scores and grades than those of whites achieve notable success
after graduation. They earn advanced degrees at rates identical to those of their white
classmates. They are even slightly more likely than whites from the same institutions to
obtain professional degrees in law, business and medicine. They become more active than
their white classmates in civic and community activities.
Affirmative Action has helped many - if not everyone from under-privileged and/or
under-represented communities to grow and occupy top positions in the world's leading
industries.Reservation in education is not the final solution, it is just one of the many

solutions. Reservations is a means to increase representation of hitherto underrepresented caste groups and thereby improve diversity on campus.
Although Reservation schemes do undermine the quality of education but still they are
needed to provide social justice to the most marginalized and underprivileged is our duty
and their human right. Reservation will really help these marginalized people to lead
successful lives, thus eliminating caste-based discrimination which is still widely
prevalent in India especially in the rural areas. (over 60% of Indian population stays in
But meritrocracy is meaningless without equality. First all people must be brought to the
same level, whether it elevates a section or delevels another, regardless of merit. Only
after that merit becomes meaningful. Privileged people have never known to go
backward due to reservations or lack of "meritrocracy". Reservations have only slowed
down the process of the 'forward' becoming richer and backward becoming poorer.
The government of India, is bound and empowered by the constitution of the country to
secure for all citizens equality in social, economic and political sphere.
Reservations will go a long way in capacity building with regard to the human resource
of the country. In the long run, it has tremendous economic benefits as it will raise the
productivity of the majority of the potential workforce of the country.
In a perfectly functioning society the institutions and various walks of life must represent
the many sections roughly in proportion to their share in population. In India it is clearly
not the case and hence the need for reservations.
India does not have the economic or institutional capacity for undertaking a grassroots
based solution to the problem, so reservations remain the only practical solution for social

Role of Judiciary

Already stated, reservation has been provided on the basis of Article 16(4). According to
Article 335, the claims of the members of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes
shall be taken into consideration in the matter of appointment to services and posts under
the union and the states, as far as may be consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of
The Supreme Court, in General Manager vs Rangacharis case in 1962 held that while
Article 16(4) is apparently without any limitation upon the power of reservation
conferred by it, it has to be read together with Article 335 which enjoins that in taking
into consideration the claims of the members of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes
in the making of appointments in connection with the affairs of the union or a state, the
policy of the state should be consistent with the maintenance of efficiency of
The result is that as per Balaji vs State of Mysore case in 1963, there can be no doubt
that the constitution makers assumed that while making adequate reservation under
Article 16(4) care would be taken not to provide unreasonable, excessive or extravagant
reservation; therefore, like the special provision improperly made under Article 15(4),
reservation made under Article 16(4) beyond the permissible and legitimate limit would
be liable to be challenged as a fraud on the constitution (as quoted Basu, 1997).
As already stated, in Indira Sawhneys case (1992) known as Mandal Commission case,
the Supreme Court had ordered that if a reservation in promotion exists it shall continue
for 5 years. However, by the Constitution (77th Amendment) Act, 1995, this limitation of
time has been removed by inserting Clause 4A to enable it to continue reservation in
promotion for the SC and ST.

The Supreme Court in its judgment of October 1996 in the case of S. Vinod Kumar vs
Union of India however, held that such relaxations in matters of reservation in
promotion were not permissible under Article 16(4) of the Constitution in view of the
command contained in Article 335 of the Constitution. In order to implement the
judgments of the Supreme Court such relaxations had to be withdrawn with effect from
July 22, 1997.
Prior to August 29, 1997 the vacancies reserved for the scheduled castes (SCs) and the
scheduled tribes (STs) which could not be filled up by direct recruitment on account of
non-availability of the candidates belonging to the SCs or the STs were treated as
backlog vacancies. These vacancies were treated as distinct group and were excluded
from the ceiling of fifty per cent reservation.
The Supreme Court of India in its judgment in Indira Sawhney vs Union of India held
that the number of vacancies to be filled up on the basis of reservations in a year
including carried forward reservations in no case exceed the limit of fifty per cent.
As total reservations in a year for the SCs, STs and the OBCs combined together had
already reached 49.5 per cent and the total number of vacancies to be filled up in a year
could not exceed 50 per cent it became almost impossible to fill the backlog vacancies
and to hold special recruitment drives. Therefore, to implement the judgment of the
Supreme Court, an Official Memorandum dated August 29, 1997 was issued to provide
that the fifty per cent limit shall apply to current as well as backlog vacancies and

for discontinuation of the special recruitment drive.

Centre's decision to include Jats in OBC category

cancelled by SC
The Supreme Court (SC) of India, on March 17, 2015, negated the Central Government's
decision to include Jats in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.
The top court said that caste can't be the sole factor to decide backwardness, maintaining
that Jats don't form socio-economic backward class. The decision will prevent the Jat
population in India to avail the special benefits of reservation in jobs and educational
"We set aside the notification to implement Jats in the Central list of Other
Backward Classes," stated the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali
As per the reports, the bench also said that the inclusion of politically organised class like
Jat would adversely impact the welfare of the other backward classes.
The previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's decision to include Jats in
the central OBC list was announced on March 4, 2014.
However, the decision of apex court came on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by
the OBC Reservation Raksha Samiti, alleging that the March 4 notification was issued by
the then central government a day before the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for the Lok
Sabha elections came into force to help the ruling party garner votes.
The OBC Reservation Raksha Samiti is an organisation of members of communities that
are included in the Central List of Backward Classes.
About the OBC Reservation in India:
Reservation in India is the process of setting aside a certain percentage of seats
(vacancies) in government institutions for members of backward and under-represented
communities (defined primarily by caste and tribe). Reservation is a form of quota-based
affirmative action. Reservation is governed by constitutional laws, statutory laws and
local rules and regulations. Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and

Other Backward Classes (OBC) are the primary beneficiaries of the reservation
policies under the Constitution.

Syndicate Bank SC&ST Employee Association through its General Secretary Sh

K S Badalia & Others Versus Union of India & Others:
The Apex court of the country held that reservation is applicable and available in
selection method promotions of Group-A/class-1 officers up to highest level and
the Govt of India have committed mistake in not giving reservation to SC&ST
officers w.e.f. o1st January, 1978.
Supreme court in Indira Sawhney & Ors v. Union of India. AIR 1993 SC 477 :
1992 Supp (3)SCC 217 upheld Implementation of separate reservation for other
backward classes in central government jobs
Ordered to exclude Creamy layer of other backward classes from enjoying
reservation facilities.
Ordered to restrict reservations within 50% limit.
In General Manager, S. Rly. v. Rangachari AIR 1962 SC 36, State of Punjab v.
Hiralal 1970(3) SCC 567, Akhil Bharatiya Soshit Karamchari Sangh (Railway) v.
Union of India (1981) 1 SCC 246 it was held that Reservation of appointments or posts
under Article 16(4)included promotions. This was overruled in Indira Sawhney & Ors v.
Union of India. AIR 1993 SC 477 : 1992 Supp (3) SCC 217 and held that Reservations
cannot be applied in promotions.
Union of India Vs Varpal Singh AIR 1996 SC 448, Ajitsingh Januja & Ors Vs State of
Punjab AIR 1996 SC 1189, Ajitsingh Januja & Ors Vs State of Punjab & Ors AIR 1999
SC 3471, M.G. Badappanavar Vs State of Karnataka 2001 (2) SCC 666.
S. Vinodkumar Vs. Union of India 1996 6 SCC 580 held that relaxation of
qualifying marks and standard of evaluation in matters of reservation in
promotion was not permissible
Suraj Bhan Meena Vs. State of Rajasthan. Held that, in view of M. Nagraj &
Ors v. Union of India and Ors. AIR 2007 SC 71, if the state wants to frame
rules with regard to reservation in promotions and consequential seniority it has
to satisfy itself with quantifiable data that is there is backwardness, inadequacy of
representation in public employment and overall administrative inefficiency and
unless such an exercise was undertaken by the state government the rules in
promotions and consequential seniority cannot be introduced.
Reservation in promotion is dependent on the inadequacy of representation of
members of SC, ST and backward classes and subject to the condition of
ascertaining whether such reservation was at all required. As no exercise was
undertaken to acquire quantifiable data regarding in adequacy of representation.
The Rajasthan High Court rightly quashed the notifications providing for

consequential seniority and promotion to the members of SC and ST

communities and the same does not call for any interference.
S. Balakrishnan Vs. S. Chandrasekar (28/2/2005) The Government of Tamil
Nadu Vs. Registration Department SC/ST (9/12/2005) The Madras High Court
has held that reservation in promotion is available only to SC and ST and not to
backward class (OBC) and most backward class
I.R. Coelho (Dead) by LRS. Vs. State of T.N. 2007 (2) SCC 1 : 2007 AIR(SC)
861 Held, Ninth Schedule law has already been upheld by the court, it would not
be open to challenge such law again on the principles declared by this judgment.
However, if a law held to be violative of any rights in Part III is subsequently
incorporated in the Ninth Schedule after 24 April 1973, such a violation/infraction
shall be open to challenge on the ground that it destroys or damages the basic
structure as indicated in Article 21 read with Article 14, Article 19 and the
principles underlying thereunder. Action taken and the transactions finalized as a
result of the impugned Acts shall not be open to challenge.
In Unni Krishnan, J.P. & Ors. Vs. State of AndhraPradesh & Ors. (1993 (1) SCC
645), it was held that right to establish educational institutions can neither be a trade or
business nor can it be a profession within the meaning of Article 19(1)(g). This was
overruled in T.M.A. Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka (2002) 8 SCC 481

93rd constitutional amendment introduced Art 15(5).

Ashoka Kumar Thakur vs. Union of India


1. The Constitution (Ninety-Third Amendment) Act, 2005 does not violate the
"basic structure" of the Constitution so far as it relates to the state maintained
institutions and aided educational institutions. Question whether the Constitution
(Ninety-Third Amendment) Act, 2005 would be constitutionally valid or not so far
as "private unaided" educational institutions are concerned, is left open to be
decided in an appropriate case.

2."Creamy layer" principle is one of the parameters to identify backward classes.

Therefore, principally, the "Creamy layer" principle cannot be applied to STs and
SCs, as SCs and STs are separate classes by themselves.
3. Preferably there should be a review after ten years to take note of the change
of circumstances.
4. A mere graduation (not technical graduation) or professional deemed to be
educationally forward.
5. Principle of exclusion of Creamy layer applicable to OBC's.
6. The Central Government shall examine as to the desirability of fixing a cut off
marks in respect of the candidates belonging to the Other Backward Classes
(OBCs) to balance reservation with other societal interests and to maintain
standards of excellence. This would ensure quality and merit would not suffer. If
any seats remain vacant after adopting such norms they shall be filled up by
candidates from general categories.
7. So far as determination of backward classes is concerned, a Notification
should be issued by the Union of India. This can be done only after exclusion of
the creamy layer for which necessary data must be obtained by the Central
Government from the State Governments and Union Territories. Such Notification
is open to challenge on the ground of wrongful exclusion or inclusion. Norms
must be fixed keeping in view the peculiar features in different States and Union
Territories. There has to be proper identification of Other Backward Classes
(OBCs.). For identifying backward classes, the Commission set up pursuant to
the directions of this Court in Indra Sawhney 1 has to work more effectively and
not merely decide applications for inclusion or exclusion of castes.
8. The Parliament should fix a deadline by which time free and compulsory
education will have reached every child. This must be done within six months, as
the right to free and compulsory education is perhaps the most important of all
the fundamental rights (Art.21 A). For without education, it becomes extremely
difficult to exercise other fundamental rights.
9. If material is shown to the Central Government that the Institution deserves to
be included in the Schedule (institutes which are excluded from reservations) of
The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 (No. 5
of 2007), the Central Government must take an appropriate decision on the basis
of materials placed and on examining the concerned issues as to whether
Institution deserves to be included in the Schedule of the said act as provided in
Sec 4 of the said act.

10. Held that the determination of SEBCs is done not solely based on caste and
hence, the identification of SEBCs is not violative of Article 15(1) of the

Womens Reservation (108th Constitutional Amendment) Bill

Reservation for women is needed to compensate for the social barriers that have
prevented women from participating in politics and thus making their voices heard. It is
of the opinion that this Bill is a crucial affirmative step in the right direction of enhancing
the participation of women in the State legislatures and Parliament and increasing the role
of women in democratization of the country. Parliamentary Standing Committee Report
on the Constitutional (108th Amendment) Bill.

A Brief History of Women's Reservation Bill

1996: Womens reservation bill is introduced as 81st Constitutional Amendment Bill by
1998: The bill is re-introduced as the 84th Constitutional Amendment Bill by the
AtalGowda government. Bihari Vajpayee headed - National Democratic
1999: The NDA government re-introduces theAlliance (NDA) government.
2002: The bill fails to get clearance in thebill
2008: The UPA government tables the Bill in
2003: Bill is introduced twice in parliament. house.
2010: The cabinet clears the bill and the Bill isthe Rajya Sabha to save from getting
lapsed. passed by the Rajya Sabha also.
The passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2010 is a
momentous, heartwarming step not only for India, but is likely to be an inspirational
trendsetter for womens empowerment in the entire region. Although it is only the first
step, the ripples from the smashing of a glass barrier are bound to be felt in virtually all
areas of traditional male dominance. Like its democracy, therefore, India will also be a
beacon in the matter of womens emancipation. The bill faces other barriers, of course, of
which the securing of the Lok Sabhas approval is the most crucial. But the expectation
among its proponents is that the momentum it has acquired by clearing the roadblocks put
up by its critics should make the subsequent passages much easier. The struggle for
political rights by womens groups has been the longest in the history of independent
India as the proposed constitution amendment bill had been deferred several times by
successive governments since 1996. While the Indian constitution is one of the most
progressive in the world and guarantees equal rights for men and women, Indian women
have always waited anxiously for their equal dreams to be translated into reality. A closer
look at the facts and circumstances which prevail at present, reveal that women are
impoverished in every sphere of activity not by choice but by systematic exclusions from
policy options and protective measures. Neither social legislations nor landmark
judgments on these have had major effect to render gender justice on this count.

Main Features of the Bill

The Bill seeks to reserve, as nearly as possible, one-third of all seats for women in the
Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies (including Delhi). It means of the 543
seats of the current 15th Lok Sabha, 181 seats will be only for women. Currently of the
545 seats, only 59 seats are being chaired by women. The allocation of reserved seats
shall be determined by such
As nearly as possible, one third of the totalauthority as prescribed by Parliament.
number of seats reserved for Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) in the Lok
Sabha and the legislative assemblies shall be reserved for
Reservation of seats for women shall cease toSC/ST women. exist 15 years after the
commencement of the act.
Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation toAct. different constituencies in the state or
union territory. If a state or union territory has only one seat in the Lok Sabha, that seat
shall be reserved for women in the first general election of every cycle of three elections.
If there are two seats, each shall be reserved once in a cycle of three elections. Similar
rules apply for seats reserved for SC/STs. Of the two seats in the Lok Sabha reserved for
Anglo Indians, one will be reserved for women in each of the two elections in a cycle of
three elections.

Judiciary has played great role in the reservation policy. In various cases, Supreme Court
has given passing reference to the reservation on the SC & ST in jobs. But Supreme court
has said that reservation should not increase then 50% in any condition but in most North
Eastern state this reservation is increased to 85% and still they have started a move to
increase it to the 95% and court is not taking any steps against it. By this way we can see
that judiciary is also playing a role in increase of reservation for SC & ST.
Now days politicians are playing a major role in reservation policy. The reservation
policy was only for 10 years after the independence, for the upliftment of SC and ST but
till now it is continue and no one has taken any step to amend it or revise it or to change
it. The reason behind this is the population of SC and ST in country. Nearly 33% voting is
done by SC and ST so now if they make any change in the reservation policy against the
SC and ST then they have to suffer a lot for the same. So they are not taking any steps
against the reservation policy.
Now if you consider the theory of John Rawles of justice then he has clearly said that
starting line should be / must be the same for all the Persons. By providing reservation
in the educational systems we are giving the same line to all the persons. He further also
said that by providing equality in education they are providing equal chance to start to all
the persons and further there is no need of reservation in service also.
John Rawles theory would well settle theoretically but as stated earlier, in a practical
paraphernalia the setting and mind set of the unreserved part of population must go hand
in hand with the affirmative discrimination policies in making the reserved part of the
population come at an actual and affirmative par.

(1) Constitution of India


(1) The Hindu
(2) The Economist
(3) India today


This is to certify that this project on Reservation Policy under Indian Constitution And
The Role Of Judiciary is a bonafide work of Ashish Singh of LLB (H) V semester for the
partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of degree of bachelors of law under
my supervision. It is further certified that the work is the outcome of his efforts and is fit
for submission and evaluation.
The conduct of research scholar remained excellent during the period of research.

Date: 26-11-2015
Place: Dehradun

Prof. Shalini Saxena

A student always requires a guidance through which one is able to
complete his or her work.
This project is no exception to it.
I would want to take this opportunity to thank our faculty member Asst.
Prof. Ms. pramadvara kushwaha.
For her being so approachable for her students so that they could do
their project with finess
Thank you, as without all your help I would not be able to complete this
project successfully..

(1) Declaration
(2) Certificate from the head of the faculty
(3) Acknowledgement
(4) Preface
(5) List of Cases
(6) Introduction
(7) Historical background of reservation
7.i Reservation during pre-independence period
7.2 Reservations during post-independence period
(8) Reservations in services in favour of other backward classes (OBCs)
(9) Reservation in admissions in educational institutions
(10) Constitutional provisions and reservation policy
(11) Concepts of SC, ST and OBC
(12) Extent of Application
(13) Relaxations/concessions admissible to SCs/STs in direct recruitments
(14) Relaxations and concessions available to OBCs
(15) Reservation in Promotions
(16) Institutional arrangements to implement and monitor the reservation policy
(17) Reservations available to socially and economically backwards
(18) Reservations in employment under the central government
(19) Literacy and educational status of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other
backward classes
(20) Views of the state/UT governments on reservations
(22) Setting up of Mandal Commission
(23) Criteria to identify OBC
(24) Weighting indicators
(25) Observations and Findings
(26) Recommendations
(27) Arguments against reservations
(28) Arguments offered in support of reservations
(29) Role of Judiciary
(30) Centre's decision to include Jats in OBC category cancelled by SC
(31) Womens Reservation (108th Constitutional Amendment) Bill
(32) Main Features of the Bill
(33) Conclusion
(34) Bibliography

List of Cases
(1) S. Vinodkumar Vs. Union of India 1996 6 SCC 580
(2) Indira Sawhney & Ors v. Union of India. AIR 1993 SC 477
(3) General Manager, S. Rly. v. Rangachari AIR 1962 SC 36, State of Punjab v.
Hiralal 1970(3) SCC 567
(4) Akhil Bharatiya Soshit Karamchari Sangh (Railway) v. Union of India (1981) 1
SCC 246
(5) M. Nagraj & Ors v. Union of India and Ors. AIR 2007 SC 71
(6) The Government of Tamil Nadu Vs. Registration Department SC/ST (9/12/2005)
(7) I.R. Coelho by LRS. Vs. State of T.N. 2007 (2) SCC 1 : 2007 AIR(SC) 861
(8) Unni Krishnan, J.P. & Ors. Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. (1993 (1) SCC
(9) T.M.A. Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka (2002) 8 SCC 481
State of Madras vs Smt Champakam Dorairajan (AIR 1951 SC525; 1951
SCR 525)
(11) Devadasan vs Union of India AIR 1964 SC 179.
(12) State of Kerala vs NM Thomas AIR 1976 SC 490 : (1976) 2 SCC 310
(13) Shantistar Builders vs Narayan Khimalal Totame
(14) Balaji vs State of Mysore AIR 1963 SC 649
(15) Suraj Bhan Meena Vs. State of Rajasthan (2011) 1 SCC 467.
(16) Ashoka Kumar Thakur vs. Union of India

hereby declare that this Project is an original work of mine and is result of my own
intellectual efforts. I have quoted all the original sources i.e original documents as this
is a research name of the authors whose work has helped me in completing this
Project have been placed at appropriate places and I have not infringed copyrights of
any other author.

Date: 26-11-2015
Place: Dehradun


Reservation Policy under Indian
Constitution And The Role Of Judiciary