Reservation Policy: An Old Wine In A New Bottle

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India is a country with a spectrum of colorful and diverse religions, customs, cultures, ethnic groups, and castes. In such a country the issue of RESERVATION is both necessary and conflicting. Reservation policy is not something that was created or compiled by India or Indians. With the advent of Britishers, came the concept of Reservation the only difference was in the motive of implementing such policy. Britishers formulated this policy to divide India, and the Indians continued that in order to unite India.

The Constitution of India under ARTICLE 16 guarantees equality to all people, irrespective of colour, creed, caste, gender, religion. It states that all the people are equal before the eyes of law and there would be no indifference subjected to these criteria. There arises a contradiction to this point that when the constitution states of treating everybody equal then the policy of Reservation establishes a paradox. When we consider the theory of John Rawls’ of justice, then it states that “the starting line should be same for all the people”. And that constitutes the base of Reservation Policy. Unless and until equal stage, equal opportunities and equal treatment is not provided to these deprived, equality in India is a far-fetched view.

 Reservation policy can’t be straightway stated as something good or bad, it has various angles and edges through which one needs to look in to assert anything about such a policy. Initially, the policy was to be followed only 10 years since independence to Lok Sabha and state legislatures. Later after five amendments the policy was extended to 2010, and even today the policy exists. The major area of concern shouldn’t be the existence of policy but the implementation of the policy. In order to uplift the backward classes and socially overlooked people, the policy of reservation must not focus on the reservations in colleges and jobs, rather their focus should be on elementary education and basic necessities. Dr. B.R Ambedkar, first Law minister of independent India and the Father of Constitution, belonged to Dalit class, at that time there was no such reservation policy that could uplift the backward classes. He received his education from a reputed government school and went abroad for his further studies. And this added to his personality. So, the elementary education of every child should be concentrated upon and not the end consequences. If the roots are made strong, so strong that no storm can blow them, the main goal of the reservation policy would be achieved. If you want a mango to ripe properly and become sweet and edible enough, then you need to provide the tree manure and humus from the beginning, and not after the fruit has ripen.

Moreover, the reservation policy instead of helping and upbringing the suppressed makes them drowsy and careless. They have a feeling of security for education, jobs, etc. and hence don’t put in their efforts to stand to the level of the stronger. They enjoy the rewards without any substantial efforts and perpetuate the same. So at the end, the suppressed classes consider themselves fortunate enough to be in that strata and continue being satisfactorily backward. On the contrary due to such policies the stronger, or the dominant ones, be tempted to feel that they have done their jobs and are free from any such responsibility of upbringing the backward classes. They forego their social responsibilities and national duties. All in all the reservation policy fails, in the present context, to achieve its aim, and becomes mainly the perpetuator and messenger of relaxation and satisfaction both from their duties and insecurity.

 Recently Supreme Court on a verdict dated 17 March decided to put aside JATS to enable them to claim reservation under nine OBC JATI’s. Supreme Court relied on the report from National Commission for Backward Classes and other constitutional schemes. There is a strong protest from the JAT Community all over the India. The government claimed that Supreme Court can’t rely on the report of NCBC because provisions for reservation flow from Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India, which do not accept the report of NCBC. But it is certainly right on the part of Supreme Court that according to reservation policy of our country any community who is economically, educationally and socially backward has the right to get the reservation from Indian government which uplift their status.  On basis of limited report by NCBC it is observed that situation of JATS on the bias of ownership of land, educational level and their representation at government level is very good in Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Bihar.

 The caste based reservation is an inconclusive debate with no clear result. The Indian constitution adopted reservation in order to uplift the social strata of community as whole but since from independence it has only made a thin line difference among the communities to whom the reservation is provided. There is little evidence which show that it has changed the life of every poor people. Mahatma Gandhi has beautifully quoted down his take on reservation-

“It is against the fundamental principles of humanity, it is against the dictates of reason that a man should, by reason of birth, be denied or given extra privileges”

The caste based reservation policy is biased to a great extent because it basically provides the reservation to the specific caste and every person in a particular caste is not the one in need of upliftment and due to which others who are in need of upliftment are forgotten. I am all for competing with a peer group which is fiercely competitive and leaving a portion of opportunities for poor people without resources, but in the current conditions it is unfair to people competing in general quota and poor people – the data proves it. The reservation should be provided on the basis of economic status not on the basis of religion identity. Because it fragments India in the strata of religion and caste and which overlaps the rights of the other. The main aim of the reservation is to provide  enough to those who do not have, but in actual circumstance it is adding more to the abundance of those who have much instead of providing to those who have too little and therefore the aim of reservation policy seems to be shady.

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