Latasinha's Weblog

Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Some useful observations of the Courts on Reservation Policy


Efficiency in administration It must not be forgotten that the efficiency in administration has such paramount importance, that it would be unwise and unpermissible to make any Reservation at the cost of efficiency of administration. That undoubtedly is the affect of Article 335. i

Special protectionSpecial protection under Article 16(4) is not in the nature of an exception. The principles of Art 46 are to be kept in mind, viz. that it is extended to the weaker sections of people. However, the Reservations should not be used to imperil administrative efficiency in the name of concessions to backwardness… Efficiency of administration is bound to be adversely affected, if general candidates of high merit are excluded from recruitment…. The politicization of casteism, its infiltration into unsuspected human territories and the injection of caste concession’s in schools and colleges via backwardness Reservations, are a canker in the rose of secularism.ii

50% limitA special provision should be less than 50%. How much less than 50% would depend on the circumstances in each case. iii

Constant reviewAll the same, the Government should not proceed on the basis that once a class is considered as a backward class, it should continue to be backward class for all time to come. Such an approach would defeat the very purpose of the Reservation. Therefore, the list of castes, which are entitled to Reservation must be kept constantly under review. iv

Reservation as temporary measureIf freedom, justice and equal opportunity to unfold ones own personality belong alike to Bhangi and Brahmin, prince and pauper, if the Panchama proletariat is to feel the social transformation, Article 16(4) promises, the state must apply equalizing techniques, which will enlarge their opportunities and thereby, progressively diminish the need for props. The success of State action under Article 16(4) consists in the speed, with which result oriented Reservation withers away as no longer a need, not in the ever widening and everlasting operation of an exception (Article 16(4)) as if it were a superficial right to continue backward all the time. To lend immortality to the Reservation policy is to defeat its raison’detre. To politicize this provision for communal support and party ends is to subvert the solemn undertaking of Article 16(1). To castefy Reservation even beyond the dismal groups of most backward people, euphemistically described as SC and ST, is to run a grave constitutional risk. Caste, ipso facto, is not class in a secular state. v

Promotions – Supreme Court does not favour quota in promotions as it is harmful from the point of view of Also in the case Indire Swaney vs Government of India, the court opined against Reservations in promotion.

Caste as basis for Reservation – The caste can not be and should not be taken as the basis for Reservation for the following reasons: –

Caste can not be made sole beneficiary or dominant test. Economic backwardness would provide a much more reliable yardstick…There is a clear distinction between class and caste. vii

Backward classes are not synonymous with backward caste.viii

Poverty in rural areas can not be the basis of classification.ix

 “If the state patronage for preferred treatment accepts caste as the only insignia for determining social and educational backwardness, the danger looms large that this approach alone would legitimise and perpetuate caste-system. It does not go well with our proclaimed secular character as enshrined in the preamble of the Constitution. x


i Justice Gajendra Gadkar on Rangachari case 1961.

ii Akhil Bhartiya Soshit Karamchari Sangh Vs UOI (1981.

iii Balaji Vs State of Mysore.

iv Sreme Court in Periakarpan Vs Tamil Nadu (1971), Chote Lal and others Vs State of UP

v Karamchari case 1981.

vi Thomas vs. Kerala and General Manager Southern Railway vs. Rangachari, Indira Sawney case.

vii Balaji Vs State of Mysore 1963), State of AP VP Sagar (1968), Rajendra case 1968.

viii Trilokinath V State of J&K 1967.

ix Janki Pd Parimoo State of J&K (1973), State of UP Vs T. Tandon (1970.

x Justice Chandrachud in Vasant Kumar v State of AP 1980.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | Leave a comment

BDSharma, Ex-Commissioner for SCT on Reservation Policy


In his 29the Report, Mr. Sharma, an ex-Commissioner for SCT, pointed out that the policy of Reservation in Government jobs has not improved the lot of the bulk of SC/ST in the country. In fact, in many cases,Their condition has further deteriorated. It is quite clear, that even if, the policy of positive discrimination was to succeed fully, it could benefit only a small section of these communities. On the other hand, if inequality continues to increase in our country or continues even at the present level, the maximum damage will fall on the members of these communities themselves, because their condition is already the worst, as in the case of the SC; or because they are facing the most severe backlash of development as in the case of the ST. The policy of Reservation is ironical, as it demands a share for the weaker section in the gains of iniquitous system, which in the ultimate analysis can not be anything, but the proceeds of exploitation of other poor belonging to the same group, who remain at the bottom.


September 28, 2009 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | Leave a comment

Arun Shourie on job reservation

 Arun Shourie, an Eminent Journalist, believes that a society, based on the principles of social justice, integrity, equal rights and opportunities for all, means recognition for the inherent rights of every human being to work and achieve the essentials of life like food, clothing, housing, education, social amenities and security. These should not be determined by accident of birth or sex, but by planned social distribution, to accept the claim of every citizen to the right to enjoy basic rights and liberties. It also means to create awareness among its citizens, so that they can justly exercise their rights and perform their duties. 

A job should be something, which one has to work to get, something which one has to do one’s utmost to retain and advance in it. It should not be, advancement in it must not be any one’s right. Reservations definitely develop ethos that the job, the promotion is mine by right and that too, because of my birth, not work. How can a modern society survive, let alone grow with this as its ethos. i According to him: –

Reservations were introduced as an exception, a temporary one, but it became a permanent feature,

It tends to grow. Concessions once given to a group is grabbed one after another group,

Concessions introduced in one sphere spreads to others.

With its growth, it suffers progressive, rapid debasement.

A concession, once given, becomes a right.

Democratic institutions like courts find itself unable to arrest the rot and to ensure, that it sub-serves the end, for which it was meant.

i Shourie – This way lies not only folly but also disaster, Indian Express 22.8.1990.


September 28, 2009 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | Leave a comment

Pr. Beteille on job reservation in public instirutions


Pr. Beteille, an eminent anthropologist, says, ‘Those, who see oppression everywhere – at school, in office and workplace, at home, in places of entertainment, indeed in every image on the Tele-screen, end by making non-sense of the very idea of power or society.’i

He further says, Once the uneven distribution of caste in public institutions comes to be perceived as a problem of distributive justice, institutional well being takes the back seat…Job Reservations in public institutions are required to protect the interest of SC/ST/Backward Classes and minorities. If this argument is believed to be right and acted on, then our institutions can not function, as they ought to, their well-being will be irreparably damaged…

The best course would be to expand the pool of qualified candidates at the lower level, but this would call for patience, which no Government in India has so far shown…A quicker course, whose effect would show immediately in official statistics, would be to alter the proportions directly through Reservation of jobs. ii

i Times of India. Dated, July 20, 1993.

ii 6th T.T. Krishmachari Memorial lecture on Distributive Justice and Institutional well-being on November 11, 1990 at Institute of Economic Growth.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | Leave a comment

Nani A. Palkiwala on Reservations in Government Services

Palkiwala Nani APalkiwala, a leading lawyer and Constitutional Expert says that Reservation Policy suffers from five fatal flaws: – 

The substandard replaces the standard and the reigns of power are to pass from meritocracy to mediocracy,

It ignores the reality that there is no backward castes, but backward individuals, 

Reservation in promotion is disastrous enough for the Civil administration, 

It divides the country along caste lines and is against social harmony and social intermingling of various castes, and 

Equality is the very heart of free republic, the foundation stone of true republic, the source of inspiration, the criteria for its citizenship and the hope for its welfare. The bedrock of Reservation is discrimination in reverse; it is discrimination against merit and caliber.i Palkiwala opines that Mandal has revived the casteism, which the Constitution emphatically intended to end. ii

i Palkiwala – Unity and Security of State at Stake Indian Express September 14, 1990).

ii Times of India. Dated, February 22, 1992.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | Leave a comment

Seervai on Reservations in Civil services


According to Seervai, a Constitutional Expert, Reservations in services affect five parties adversely :-

The state, to whose service, persons are recruited by open competition in examinations held by independent Public Service Commission; 

The Public, as the very phrase public servant shows; 

The persons, who are discriminated against, by Reservation in favour of members of SC/ST/OBC; 

Members of SC/ST/OBC, in whose favour discrimination is being made by fixing Reservation quota, and 

The service, that is each service considered as a whole.

 A service, which lacks espirit de corps, i.e., consciousness of and pride on belonging to a particular service, misses an element essential to an efficient and harmonious administration. The position further deteriorates in a service, in which in matters of promotion, people with superior qualifications are subordinate to people with admittedly inferior qualifications. i

i Seervai Is an efficient public service irrelevant in India, Indian Express September, 1990 P.1.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | Leave a comment

Kansi Ram on Reservation Policy


Earlier, Kanshi Ram, founder and Supremo of BSP, was Member of Republican Party of India – the only Dalit outfit before 70’s. In 1973, he formed the Backward and minority Community Employees Federation. In 1981, he launched Bahujan Samaj Party and provided the country a new formula of DS4 (Dalit Samaj of SC, ST, OBC and Minorities). He says: –

No economic system, be it communism, capitalism socialism or liberalism, can succeed in India, as long as the ism of Brahminism holds sway.’ i

We have no other program except the one to capture political power.

He is critical of Dalits groups in Maharashtra for always seeking concessions from the upper castes. He wants the Dalits to aim for political power. He said that he was opposed to Reservations and land reforms.ii Mr. Kanshi Ram declares himself as king-maker and says, BSP is a self centered party. I will ensure that no Government stays at Center for too long. Not until, we are ready to takeover.iii

Now Ms Mayawati, the present Chief Minister of India’s largest province -Uttar Pradesh has taken over the charge to fulfil Kansi Ram’s dreams.

i Times of India. Dated, December 7, 1993, p1.

ii Times of India. Dated, December 27, 1993.

iii Times of India. Dated, September 24, 1990.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | Leave a comment

Ram Vilas Paswan in favour of Reservation Policy

During 1990-91, Mr. Paswan, a Cabinet Minister in VP Singh’s cabinet, championed the cause of Reservation. However on December 12, 1987, in a speech at Benepatti, Madhubani, he demanded amendment in the Constitution to end the prevalent policy of Reservation for Harijans and backward classes in Government Services and replacing it by right to work for everybody, because…Reservation system had failed to achieve its purpose and had created social tensions in the country. Later on, he changed his views and opined as under :-

It is ironical that, The one, who makes clothes, does not have clothes to wear, the one that makes shoes, does not have any to wear himself and the one, that makes houses, does not have a roof over his head.

The mindset of the upper-caste is difficult to change, which has hardened over a thousand years of oppressing Harijans and regarding them a lesser being. 

Right now our society is like this, with each caste lying oppressively on the one below it.

Though several laws have been enacted to improve their lot, much of it remain on paper…Harassment, brutalisation and killings of Harijans continue in remote backward areas, where a majority of Dalits still live in the dark ages of denial and deprivation. i

Paswan regarded Reservations in jobs and educational institutions necessary, because it had made it possible for a son of oppressed to become a collector or SP.

      “Nothing will change till they are given a share in land, industry and administration beside politics. No amount of reform with the old structure will do, it needs to be dismantled wholesale. ii

There is no justification for finishing Reservations for downtrodden, till caste-system exists.’

If justice was denied to poor, the doors to violence would be thrown open.’ iii

Paswan challenged the argument of merit by saying Merit ! what is Merit… What merit is there in Capitation fee system?

i Times of India. Dated, April 18, 1993, p15.

ii Frontline August 31, September 3, 1991 P.100.

iii Times of India, Dated, April 8, 1992.


September 28, 2009 Posted by | Reservation/Affirmative action program | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: