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December 18, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm


The Reservation System in India has been a subject of debate, with opinions divided on its efficacy and relevance. While some argue for its elimination, citing concerns about quality and merit, others emphasize its crucial role in addressing historical injustices and promoting social justice. This overview delves into the evolution, constitutional foundations, and the need for reservations, while also exploring the challenges and proposing potential solutions.

Evolution of Reservation System:

Caste-based Origin: The reservation system traces its roots to the age-old caste system in India, where certain sections faced historical injustice based on their caste identity.

Communal Award: The concept gained momentum with the ‘Communal Award’ of 1933, introducing separate electorates for different communities.

Post-Independence: After independence, reservations initially focused on Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs). The Mandal Commission in 1991 extended it to Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

Constitutional Amendments: Amendments like the 77th, 81st, and 85th addressed reservation in promotions, unfilled vacancies, and seniority for SCs and STs.

Economic Reservation: The Constitutional (103rd Amendment) Act of 2019 introduced 10% economic reservation for the economically weaker sections in the unreserved category.

Constitutional Provisions and Amendments:

Article 15 and 16: Constitutional provisions like Article 15(4) and 16(4) empower the state to reserve seats in government services for SCs and STs.

Amendments: Amendments like the 77th, 81st, and 85th expanded reservation provisions, allowing reservations in promotions and addressing seniority concerns.

Specific Representation: Articles 330, 332, 243D, and 243T provide specific representation through reservation for SCs and STs in Parliament, State Legislative Assemblies, Panchayats, and Municipalities.

Judicial Pronouncements: Key judicial decisions like the Champakam Dorairajan case, Indra Sawhney case, M. Nagaraj case, and Jarnail Singh case shaped the legal framework for reservations.

Need for Reservation in India:

Historical Discrimination: Reservations aim to rectify historical injustices faced by marginalized communities due to the caste system.

Lack of Human Development: Disparities in education, employment, and resources persist among different caste groups, justifying the need for affirmative action.

Promoting Social Justice: The constitutional mandate under Articles 15(4) and 16(4) reflects a commitment to promoting social justice and equality.

Economic Development: Reservations focus on social development, providing opportunities for education and employment to uplift marginalized communities economically.

Under-representation: Reservations ensure equitable representation in public employment, promoting diversity and inclusivity.

Issues with Reservation System:

Quality Concerns: Critics argue that reservations may compromise the quality of education and workforce, as candidates may be selected based on quotas rather than merit.

Brain Drain: Concerns about a potential brain drain arise, as talented individuals may seek opportunities abroad to avoid the reservation system.

Resentment and Division: Reservation can create social and economic divisions, leading to resentment among those not benefitting from the policies.

Inefficiencies and Corruption: Issues like corruption, inefficiencies, and caste certificate manipulation undermine the effectiveness of the reservation system.

Ghost Beneficiaries: Broad categories may not accurately target the most disadvantaged individuals, leading to benefits for those not as disadvantaged.

Potential Solutions:

Reboot Infrastructure of Opportunity: Accelerate reforms in education, employability, and employment to enhance the infrastructure of opportunity.

Equal Treatment: Ensure fair and equal treatment for all individuals without discrimination based on their background.

Unbiased Competition: Encourage competition on a level playing field, emphasizing skills, abilities, and efforts for success.

Impartially Judged Outcomes: Evaluate outcomes based on a fair and impartial assessment of an individual’s performance and contributions.

Judging Based on Effort and Courage: Foster a culture that values hard work, determination, and the courage to pursue goals.

Use Resources Judiciously: Implement a welfare state ensuring judicious use of resources to provide quality essentials without becoming a hammock.


While reservations in India have been instrumental in addressing historical injustices, the system faces criticism and challenges. A balanced approach requires addressing concerns about quality and merit while acknowledging the ongoing need for social justice. The debate on reservations should consider a nuanced and comprehensive perspective that aligns with contemporary challenges and aspirations for a progressive and just India.

Mains Question:

  1. Discuss the evolution, constitutional foundations, and the contemporary significance of the reservation system in India. Evaluate the challenges associated with the current reservation system and propose effective solutions to address these challenges. (150 WORDS)



December 18, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
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