Answers

2016-04-03T03:00:23+05:30
Initially, the percentage of reservation (in 1950 Constitution) provided reservation of 12.5 per cent for the SCs and 5 per cent for the STs but these percentages were subsequently enhanced in 1970 to 15 per cent and 7.5 per cent for SCs and STs respectively. The res­ervation was provided in jobs, admission to colleges and universities, and the central and state legislative assemblies. Our Constitution guarantees/stipulates justice and equality of opportu­nity to all its citizens. It also recognizes that equal opportunity implies competition between equals, and not ‘un-equals’. Recognizing the inequal­ity in our social structure, the makers of the Constitution argued that weaker sections have to be dealt with on a preferential footing by the state. A special responsibility was, thus, placed upon the state to provide protection to the weaker sections of society. Accordingly, the Constitu­tion provided for protective discrimination under various articles to accelerate the process of building an egalitarian social order. Thus, prefer­ential treatment for the depressed classes (SCs and STs), including reserva­tion of seats, should not be understood as an act of magnanimity on the part of the political elite at the national level but rather a strategy to give them a share in power in politics and administration and to uplift them socially and economically. Initially, the percentage of reservation (in 1950 Constitution) provided reservation of 12.5 per cent for the SCs and 5 per cent for the STs but these percentages were subsequently enhanced in 1970 to 15 per cent and 7.5 per cent for SCs and STs respectively. The res­ervation was provided in jobs, admission to colleges and universities, and the central and state legislative assemblies. Later, it was provided in public undertakings and nationalised banks, etc. All state governments also en­acted laws providing for reservation for the SCs (and STs) in the services under their control. Further, other concessions like reservation in promo­tions, etc. were also provided by the governments. In January 1999, the President of India’s noting in a confidential file pertaining to judicial appointments to the effect that special quota should be considered for the weaker sections of society like SCs, STs and women in the appointment of judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court, led to a future in legal circles and a debate on meritocracy versus protective discrimination. The controversy is not about whether the President has constitutional power to suggest changes in the selection process. The issue is: if Chief Justice of India’s argument that merit alone is important in ju­dicial appointments is logical, why cannot it be applied to other areas like educational institutions, science laboratories, etc., and if President’s view has logic, why can’t reservations be extended to armed forces, formation of cabinets, etc. The President’s noting are never casual. They are not personal opinions. They carry an official stamp. If judges and senior advo­cates believe in the primacy of merit in judiciary, will the Supreme Court review its earlier judgement given in November 1992 with regard to ac­cepting 27 per cent reservation for the OBCs? The failure of the policy of reservation to uplift the SCs (and STs) over a period of around five dec­ades on the one hand and the politics of reservation, i.e., the rat race among the political parties to net specific groups like OBCs, Dalit Chris­tians and the Muslims, and recent demands of some castes (like Jats, etc. in Rajasthan) to include them in OBC category, on the other, have posed se­rious challenges for the society and economy. The Supreme Court ruling on the ceiling of the reservation limit at 50 per cent and subsequently, the passing of Tamil Nadu Reservation Act (1993) raising the reservation to 69 per cent and including this Act in the constitution by 85th amendment to take it beyond judicial review have opened the door with one state gov­er
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