The Mandal Commission was established in the year 1979 by the Janata Party led government under Prime Minister Morarji Desai tenure with an objective to “identify the socially or educationally backward.”
Mandal Commission was headed by former Indian parliamentarian Shri B.P. Mandal Ji to consider the question of seat reservations and quotas (class) for people to redress caste discrimination, and used several social, economic, and educational indicators to determine backwardness in India. In 1980, the commission’s report was affirmed the affirmative action practice under Indian legal system whereby members of backward castes, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes were given exclusive access to a certain portion of government Jobs and vacancies and slots in public educational institutions and all, and recommended changes to these quotas, by 27% which were for Other Backward Cast and rest 22% for Schedule Cast & Schedule Tribe, Total 49% which is the maximum limit given by our constitution. Later on Hon’ble Apex Court recognized the same in the case of Indra Sawheny v. UOI, 1992 SC.
According to The Constitution of India, all citizens are equal as per Article 14 and their rights are same irrespective of their religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth (Article 15).
India after independence has indeed a class of society who were and is till date, economically as well as socially backward. According to the forefathers of reservation, it will be given for 10 years and after that they will not be extended. But after that time no any government in India tried to remove it or quash it as they saw it as their vote-bank in this case on one hand and revolution against government on the other. Around 85% population is getting its benefit under different schemes of state. It has been contended that if anyone will try to quash or remove this policy, they will be ultimately be removed from the power or government for long time or may be forever, as the people who are getting the benefits of this are in majority (almost 85%).
Reservations on the basis of caste and not on the basis of economic status are bad and unacceptable in my opinion. I think the main purpose to incorporate reservation is to uplift the people with poor conditions of life, those who don’t have food to eat, home to live, apron to wear simply stated as Cloth, Food and Shelter. India till date is male dominant society on the basis of factors such as women are more disadvantaged than men since ancient times. The process of reservation should be as such that it enumerates the truly economically and socially deprived individuals and bring them all to justice. This will take the real image for Article 14, Right to Equality which includes equality before law & equal protection of the law.
Even Dr. B. R. Ambedkar also said ‘a permanent reservation on basis of caste is injustice for others citizens of India.’ On the other hand, Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Balaji v/s State of Mysore (AIR 1963 SC649) held that, ‘caste of a person cannot be the sole criteria for ascertaining whether a particular caste is backward or not. Determinants such as poverty, occupation, place of habitation may all be relevant factors to be taken into consideration. The court further held that it does not mean that if once a caste is considered to be backward it will continue to be backward for all other times. The government should review the test and if a class reaches the state of progress where reservation is not necessary it should delete that class from the list of backward classes.’
What is surprising here is that our constitution clearly is reservation-friendly constitution but it is nowhere mentioned in the constitution the term ‘backward classes’ defined. I personally feel disagree with this kind, when I see peoples having big firm houses and luxury cars and they still have reservation.
In a landmark decision on January 07, 2019, by Union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji ahead of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) general election 2019, the Union cabinet has approved a 10% reservation in jobs and higher education for “economically backward” sections in the general category. However, the reservation will be over and above the existing 50 percent reservation catalog and the government will amend Article 15 and 16 of the Constitution to implement it, as reports suggested.
No recent revision or review was taken off by the government as far I know, this introduction of new category of 10% reservation in general caste will not only violates 50% set up rules for reservation by Hon’ble Supreme Court of India but also will challenge its own validity. My personal opinion is that it may decelerate the growth of nation at one hand but yes, it will also give social justice to poor peoples of general category. Sorry to say general category or OBC or SC/ST which I don’t believe from the bottom of my heart but I’ll have to say because of these all idiotism divisions. As being a student of constitution, I consider all as equal because there is no natural distinction by god to divide on the religion or caste as the case may be.
What actually constitutes a backward class or schedules class or general? What are the determinants of a backward class or schedules class or general? These questions remain unanswered in the constitution and are subject to judicial pronouncements that they have been given some meaning in different cases.
As stated above in the case of Balaji v/s State of Mysore (AIR 1963 SC649), ‘caste of a person cannot be the sole criteria for ascertaining whether a particular caste is backward or not’, then why the reservation till date is on the basis of caste only ?
Yes, I can surely say that India will have more black money soon because, if it may be passed, people will try to hide their income and come under this category to avail the same.
Reservations are anti-thesis of development, growth and equality. It can be a reason for discrimination on the name of social justice or opportunity to any specific class or classes of persons. My opinion is that ‘We don’t need such reservations based on religion or castes but only to provide aid to those who have minimal resources. By removing it, we may be successful in removing caste discrimination and dirty politics on the same, can unite the economically rich together in helping the economically poor, irrespective of their castes. The recent decision of union government to give 10% to poor people of general on second last day of parliament session before Lok Sabha general election is seems to be like a election Lollipop but yes, intention of its incorporation on the basis of financial status is Quintessential as good intention and can be a window to change the reservation policy on caste basis into economic conditions. My final words to this analysis is that “Giving reservation to all will ultimately quash this without hurting any class of people.”
Let’s wait and watch this decision as a….Move or Lollipop for election!!
Adarsh Ranjan, B.Sc. LL.B. (Hons.), 4th year, Central University of South Bihar, Gaya