Revamping the reservation policy: A big stride towards affirmative action

Reservation refers to a justice granted to people belonging to historically disadvantaged groups. The concept of reservation in India came much before the constitution came into an existence. The two instances which make us reminiscent for reservation can be dated back to the year, 1882 when JyotiBabuPhule demanded reservation from the Hunter Commission[1]. In 1902, following the Jyoti Babu Phule demand, the Maharaja of Kolhapur (Maharashtra), Shahu IV a man who was considered as maverick announced the reservation for the backward classes in the Public Administration. Sooner the Britishers sniffed the policy of Shahu IV and refilled their tank for communal mileage which resulted into the introduction of many reforms such as separate electorate and reservation in the Indian Council Act, 1909 and the subsequent acts ultimately made them nothing else than the pioneer of ‘Divide and Rule Policy’.

Post-independence there had been many committees and many cases which has challenged the certain provision of the constitution but the committees and the cases such asMandal Commission, M.R. Balaji V. State of Mysore[2] and IndraSwahney V. Union of India[3]has not only cleaned up the air but has also set up the certain guidelines which is of prime importance. Considering the present scenario the debate has been aroused again about the reservation policy especially after the agitation carried out by the Patidar[4] and Jat[5]community in the recent months. The National Commission for Backward Commission while submitting its report on 9th February 2016 suggested the Government that the Corporate bodies should open the avenues for the other backward castes and embrace them by introducing 27% reservation. It’s not a hidden fact that the job in the government sector has dipped whereas the percentage in the private sector has surged by 35.7%[6]. In the era of capitalism where Corporate Social Responsibility is nothing more than a farce the question arises is why not the Corporate sector be instructed to open the avenues for the marginalised society and especially for the fact that in the year 2004 itself when 218 Corporate Houses assured the then Prime Minister that they will implement the affirmative action.

Since 2004, 12 years has been passed and still the Corporate Sector has not manoeuvred their promised policy and the said proposed talks has only remained like a dead letter.Considering the present and the past government act, nevertheless it can easily be deciphered that their response to the present ongoing reservation system is like a dear caught in the headlights which has only resulted further into the nadir point in terms of generating more governmental jobs and if India in any way wants to have a successful implementation of the model of ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’ then it has to delve upon to increase the social mobility in the society through various method and this would not be a queer call by the government to introduce the reservation sector in the private sector.

[1] Chaired by Sir William Wilson Hunter.

[2]1963 AIR 649, 1962 SCR Supl. (1) 439

[3]AIR 1993 SC 477, 1992 Supp 2 SCR 454

[4]The Patidar are a caste found primarily in the state of Gujarat, India. Patidar community accounts for roughly 1.5 crore of Gujarat’s 6 crore population.

[5]They are a community native to North India and the Punjab province of Pakistan. Jats constitute 25% of the total Haryana Population.

[6]Between 2006-12 the public sector registered the slump by 3.3%   whereas the private sector amassed a stupendous growth of 35.7%.



Amardeep Kumar

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