Caste-based Reservations:

Social Justice or Total Injustice?

Reservations in government jobs were provided in our Constitution as an instrument to ensure social justice to the downtrodden and raise their status so as to make them capable of competing with other classes. However, due to their being caste based, they soon became an instrument of selfish and corrupt caste politics. In their present form they have become a serious issue that should attract attention of one and all interested in providing social justice to the really needy and in emergence of India as a casteless, fair and forward looking society.

The preamble of our Constitution reads:

“We the People Of India………………and to secure to all its citizens Justice…….., Liberty……, Equality of status and  opportunity……”, and article 16(1) of the Constitution proclaims “There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state.”

Then article 16(4) makes enabling provision for the state to make reservations in favor of any backward class of citizens. The two types of provisions are obviously contradictory; and, if they are read together, it can be rightly inferred that the provision of reservations in employment can be only for those who are so much socially or economically discriminated as to make them incapable of securing government jobs despite their best efforts. It is not for those who have not been denied means and circumstances to compete with others. 

However, the history of ever-increasing reservations in government jobs makes it clear that the intention is not to provide government jobs to the really downtrodden and needy, but to play caste politics with its help. If this political game continues unchecked, Indian State would never be able to provide equality of opportunity to all its citizens. Even the rulings of the Supreme Court to bring sanity in the race of political parties for one-up-man-ship in providing more and more reservations in more and more fields to more and more castes (and even religions) are being got nullified through acts of  legislatures.

A glance through the developments of the last 6 decades in the field of reservations reveals:
During the first four decades (1950-1990) reservation in central government jobs were provided to S.Cs.S.Ts. only; of course, there were some states which provided reservation in jobs to backward castes and women also in provincial jobs. The rule was that in any recruitment the reservation to S.C.sS.Ts. be limited to 22.5% of the total vacancies in the centre (and in proportion to population percentage in the states). However, in order to appease S.Cs.S.Ts., this rule has been regularly flouted by making 100% appointments of S.C.|S.Ts. in the name of ‘special recruitments for filling backlog’. Moreover, this backlog is counted not on the basis of unfilled vacancies in the previous recruitments, but as the gap between the total number of jobs calculated on percentage basis (of S.C./S.T. population) and the number of existing S.C.S.T. employees in the rank for which recruitment was being done. Filling of backlog on this basis was against the very spirit of equal opportunity as it deprived candidates of other castes completely from entering into the government service during those ‘special recruitments’.
During these decades provision was made for reservation in promotions also, which effectively meant that the government discriminated even among equals (employees of the same rank) on caste basis. There was another effect of this that S.C./S.T. employees in the initial rank got promoted sooner than others and therefore, despite their full entry in each recruitment (many a time more than their population percentage), the gap between their number calculated on caste percentage basis and their actual number in the initial rank always existed. This became an excuse for never-ending ‘special recruitments (100% reservations)’ by caste-minded or politically opportunistic governments.   
During the first three decades (1950-1980) such S.C./S.T. candidates, who qualified among others on merit, were included in counting the 22.5% quota. This had a rationale because it ensured that the S.Cs.| S.Ts. did not grab more jobs than the percentage of their population. Subsequently the rule was changed and the candidates of reserved category, who successfully competed among general category candidates, were excluded from the reservation quota. This resulted in a situation where S.CS.T. and backward class candidates started getting selected even beyond their population percentage, which cannot be justly the intention of a constitution proclaiming equality of opportunity for all its citizens.
Another dimension to reservations was added during the seventies- through a Government Order one dependant of such government servants who died during harness was assured of an employment without competition. This reservation not only violated the principle of equality but was also totally biased against those whose parents had not got an employment in the government.
After implementation of Mandal report during nineties, O.B.Cs were provided reservation in all central and state jobs. But since the Honorable Supreme Court had fixed a cap of 50% in reservations, O.B.Cs could get only 27.5 % seats reserved as per rule. However, this limit arising due to Honorable Supreme Court’s ruling was repeatedly crossed by some states and when the Supreme Court stayed the appointments made beyond 50%, legislation was passed to nullify those rulings.
The Supreme Court had debarred the ‘creamy layer’ among backward classes from the benefits of reservation. Here the states tried to outsmart the Supreme Court by defining ‘creamy layer’ in such a fashion that even millionaires could not be excluded from reservations.
Earlier the rule was that due to reservation in promotions, any general category employee who got superseded by his junior, again became senior to him when he got promotion to the same rank. Later this rule was amended so that any junior reserved category employee promoted before his general category seniors, became permanently senior to his left out seniors. Since the benefit of reservation in promotions is given at each stage of promotion, this rule effectively meant that only reserved category employees would reach the top echelons in any department, and all general category employees would retire in lower positions.
Earlier, only the backward castes among Muslims used to get reservation benefit among the O.B.Cs. Then in 2004 Congress party declared in its manifesto that it will provide reservations to all Muslims and subsequently the state of Andhra Pradesh issued orders to that effect.
Earlier there was no reservation in education to O. B. Cs., now even in highly specialized courses reservations have been provided. This has resulted in greatly downgrading the ability of our doctors and engineers and adversely affecting their reputation worldwide.             
It is surprising that as the country is progressing socially and economically, the political parties are finding necessity of more and more reservations to more and more castes. And no party or person ever dares to speak of withdrawing reservations to over-represented castes/categories.                
And essentially who is enjoying the benefits of reservations? Among S.Cs.| S.Ts. the main beneficiaries are the sons and daughters of those government servants who had themselves got government jobs earlier due to reservation. Among the various reserved castes, most of the jobs are cornered by off-springs of Yadav officials among S.Cs. and Meena officials among S.Ts.  Among O.B.Cs land-wise, money-wise, muscle-wise and vote-wise strong castes like Jats, Yadavas, and Kurmis are almost exclusive beneficiaries of the reservations. So far no political party has ever displayed courage to speak of exclusion of any caste or tribe from the reserved category. Instead, inclusion of newer castes in the reserved category on imaginary or fake data are order of the day. Inclusion of Jats among O.B.Cs. in U.P. and previous U. P. government’s attempt to declare 12 O.B.C. castes as Scheduled Castes are burning examples of such political maneuvers.
In this scenario the unreserved castes have a right to ask a few questions from the self proclaimed champions of social justice:

  • What is the limit of acceptable discrimination in the name of social justice?
  • Will any political party ever dare to speak about withdrawing reservations granted to any caste?  
  • Does social justice mean near exclusion of hard working and meritorious people from most of the jobs in this country?           
  • Do the political parties really intend to ameliorate the condition of the truly deprived when highly placed and highly rich Dalits and O.B.Cs are not being excluded from the benefits of reservation?               
  • Is it not true that in the present scheme of reservations real Dalits and real backwards will continue to remain the same for ages?
  • Is it not a fact that in the name of social justice total injustice is being done to the meritorious as well as to the really deprived sections of society?   


More by :  Mahesh Chandra Dewedy

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Views: 3493      Comments: 13

Comment Its not injustice to reservation caste , its a injustice to general category..why difference in cutoff for higher pisitions like IPS..exames like UPSC?
Its a long ago..their forfather was discriminated..why do u favour them now? Premble says equal right to all...
V general category should protest..

Shila desai
20-Dec-2019 23:22 PM

Comment Dear Mr. Roshan,
Please read my article again and rethink. I have not rejected reservation per se, but perhaps even you will agree that reservations should have some limit and children of IAS/IPS officers belonging to S.C./S.T. should not get reservation. Instead, those seats should be given to poor SC/STs.

M. C. Dewedy

09-Feb-2014 23:06 PM

Its ridiculous to think that reservation is from after independence! I know there is a chances of raise in your eyebrow !but, my dear friend , fact is india is suffering from reservation from more than 2000years. In fact Brahmins are most reservation benefited community in india since from the birth of caste system..there was absolutely no place for talent only his birth matter even though he don’t have talent!
The so called upper caste exploited the money talent and work of people of so called lower caste in the name of god and religion .. There was literally no place for talent , ones talent was judged by birth not by his work. (this is the reason why british and moghal are ruled india very easily though india has big population to fight back and this is the only example in the world for ruling the country with big population for a so long time! Its a tragedy.. And fact is only shivaji fought moghal very effectively who is not even a king from birth but by his talent).. and more ever caste and reservation are two faces of same coin its a twin child of hindu religion both are part of this religion.. If you have doubt in this read story mahabharat there is an clear example for talent killing caste system in that it clearly explained how karna and ekalavya is suffered from reservation system even though having talent.. This ancient reservation system of hierarchy made a so called upper caste a good economical and social back up.
Now time is changed,now its your time to fight back for your right.. Throne can be takenoff from throne and ancient reservation of hindu religion favoring some community can be only be balanced by modern reservation system favoring some other community who is not benefited from reservation of ancient hindu custom ..
And don’t ignore that even today brahmin are most reservation benefited community! I know your eyebrow gets raised again, it may be bitter fact to digest for some people but its the truth! but how, is your next question,if so please read next, the influence and recomendation are another name of reservation, brahmins are taking more reservation by the influence and recomendation than so called lower caste by government quota
tragedy is, untill there is hindu religion in india there will be a caste, till there is a caste there is a reservation(it may be influence and recomendation or influence or government quota) , this all three are like part of a tree like root , stem and leaves, tragically.
Please read this article,twice and make other to read twice.
Obc and sc st constitutes more than 80% of hindu who are eligible for government quota, for them only reservation is the hope to compete with influence and recomendation reservation of some community, be careful, if you are against reservation by lack of information you will be fooled,you [obc]have to support and take reservation and support reservation, for equalising the unfairness causing for you by influence and recomendation reservation of some people. yes its a tragedy of india because of ancient mistake of some people who made rules of religion to boost their selfish intrest, but now its the pay back time, karma cant be changed.

and and my intention is not to hurt anybody.. sorry if so as it is inevitable sometimes ..but we should understand the tragedy of india.

09-Feb-2014 04:10 AM

Comment Dear Dr Chandrashekhar,

Reservation meant to uplift the downtrodden has justification, but not the one which uplifts the already uplifted and which ensures perpetuation of caste for eternity.

Mahesh Chasndra Dewedy

Mahesh Chandra Dewedy
20-Feb-2013 22:01 PM

Comment Pl see that how many centuries suffered due to Brahmanism directly and indirectly. do you mean that a quarter century is sufficient to uplift the SC/ST/BCs?

reservation on population based justifiable provide as long as cast discrimination exist in the world.

Dr M Chandrashekar
19-Feb-2013 19:31 PM

Comment Dear Mr. Raj,
Thanks for commenting on my article.
However, It seems that points raised by me are being missed completely,
which I wold request you to read again and think about.
Discrimination against certain castes during the past cannot be denied, but it is not a good argument for strengthening the caste-system and dividing the society and services, for enriching the rich among the S. Cs./S.Ts./O. B. Cs. and depriving the really poor and deserving among them from reaping the benefits of reservation, for promoting the corrupt
and inefficient bypassing the better ones through reservation in promotions.
Examples of other countries can be given for either side.Deprivation of Dalits in India was never near that of deprivation of Blacks in America. Yet there is no reservation in jobs there.
I have nowhere opposed the reservation per se
and I have never stated that deprived persons of society should not get reservations, but nobody interested in the welfare of poor dalits would agree that the few government jobs (reserved) available should be grabbed by children of I. A. S./ P. C. S., etc. officers.
Therefore kindly read my points coolly and then comment on them.

.Mahesh Chandra Dewedy

mahesh chandra dewedy
02-Sep-2012 23:03 PM

Comment Dear Mr. Mahesh
thanks for this topic u agree that there existed reservation in india in past? Don't you think that resevation was of 100% which existed for more than thousands of years..?
2.don't you think that Brahmins,kshatriyas,vasyas intelligently supressed the comptetvenes by supressing 1/4 of population by telling thm ur nt born to earn,u r untouchables,and remaining half by telling women and suppressing them? great move.. that cost thousand years of financial loss to deserving people who belonged to those castes..why do u think so called general category person might feel they are better,and well equiped than a category person ,its only those thousands year..india would hav been much much much better country if such a big part of community (scheduled caste scheduled tribe women) not been suppressed.. you are talking about that so many deserving candidates are not getting my friend can u guess that how many of deserving people hav nt get what they deserved in those thousand years..nw ur asking that should resevation exist for rich lower caste people.. to ans this jst imagine what they hav achieve in jst 65 years,and what they could have achieved if they could hav get it long before..they were stopped for so long nw they are getting opportunity..nw ur saying that they are rich stop gvng friend why shuld this be done..why shouldnt few sc & st person mst feel what most of the general person ,weather deserving or nt feel who is rich jst because his forefathers were getting no competition or so less competition from others..
i would hav loved nt to allow if reservation if there even existed even small chance for sc st people .. they never had that..
and this is not effecting growth of india as india is much better place to live thn before where after few decades every time some xternal force attack and conquered india..india which lack in inventions even after such a large population..having such rich natural resources than also nt among rich countries of world .. this shows the failure of castes in india
and one more thing people who were supperesd get there rights like in south africa .. (there is reservation even in cricket team there)
and dont forget rervation is nly in govt. jobs unlike in past where reservation xisted in every area.. i hope u will try to understand it with cool head .. that reservation is for those who were mentally torcherd and financially bankrupted for thousands of year.. who lost there confidence,there self respect.. it came in there gene to hav inferiority it come normally if few are treated like this for so long

02-Sep-2012 14:44 PM

Comment why yadav cast people are not getting obc reservation facilities in maharashtra
altough in utter pradesh yadav cast are eligble to get obc reservation


plz send proper reply

29-Aug-2012 06:08 AM

Comment Its true but who would take an initiative for this ? we know this very well that today's politics is worth annoying and the feel of helping people and in turn helping our nation has been died in our souls !! politicians have simply used our constitution as their asset to fulfill their own selfish needs and people like Anna are destroyed at their early eruption. Now coming at the point i think reservations should b provided, but to those who actually deserve it who can bear it's responsibilities.
Now filling of backlogs is something that should b stopped now for it simply gives a feeling of discrimination n nothing else . people who are eligible should b put forward n not those whom d politicians feel would help them in increasing their votes. An appeal!! rather a collective appeal should b made in this regard for the people like us of general category n living in this nation like India feel as if being general is a curse for us.

20-Aug-2012 03:46 AM

Comment Reservation was meant for low-poor-caste people so that they can cope up with superior society but it in actual reservation has lost his aim. Nw it has just become a political activity.... one of the basis of what we called "vote". People who really need reservation are still unaware of it. It is also creating a gap between people of different caste and system. General candidate are suffering from it a lot.. well deserved people are standing on the road and fighting for job and for their rights and undeserving candidates are enjoying in well ac room. Reservation,nw days is just meant to "suck" the people and our nation has to pay heavily for it.

Prashasti Sharma
20-Aug-2012 02:04 AM

Comment As long as caste discrimination and prejudice prevails in Indian society caste based reservation is justified. Caste based reservation is not new in India but existed for thousands of years. Indeed Brahmins and other upper caste had 100% reservation, that system denied merit based education and prevented vast majority people seeking education of any kind. The current reservation is more inclusive were every section of the society can participate in the progress. In an unequal society based on prejudice where caste barrier exists every where caste based reservation in deed a good thing.

06-Jul-2011 19:10 PM

Comment Dear Mr. Rajesh,
Thanks for your comment. However, it would have been meaningful, if you had refuted my points after reading the article.
However, I have some questions to ask:
1 Did you consider the fact that the article is against the caste-basis of reservations and not against reservations per se?
2!. When, in the past, did we have a Constitution proclaiming equality to all its citizens? And aiming to do away the malaise of caste?
3. All societies in the world discriminated against some sections in the past, but today those very societies take pride in enforcing equality.
4 Do you want that discrimination on caste-basis should continue and caste should be strengthened?
5 Is reservation to Jats/Yadavs in U P., to Minas of Rajasthan, and many forward castes in the south justified on any ground? ,
6 Do you want that the first/second generation beneficiaries of reservation must grab most of the reserved vacancies denying them to the really poor and needy?
If yas, then God help the Nation.

Mahesh Chandra Dewedy

Mahesh Chandra Dewedy
05-Jul-2011 19:10 PM

Comment it would be better if britishers had not left india at least eligible person should be getting jobs .these politicians are even worse than british people they have brought disgrace to ur freedom fighters

sunil rai
20-Dec-2010 11:54 AM

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