• Legis Scriptor

Flaws in Reservation Policy

Authored by- Upasana Sahani

Key Words:

Reservation, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward classes, Disadvantage, General Class, Losing Opportunity, deserving, not-so-deserving, economic backwardness, Development, County, Etc.


Reservation Policy in India is a process of reserving a certain percentage of seats (maximum 50%) for a particular class like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Backward classes, etc, in Government educational institutions, government jobs, etc.

The reservation policy is an age-old policy being practiced in India. Its origin has its roots scattered from the ancient times when the practice of ‘untouchability’, caste system, and Varna system was dominant within the society. The idea of giving reservations to a particular class of individuals originated due to the prevalent atrocities being done on a certain class of individuals. but the effects of the reservation have been severe and damaging. The lives of the young guns are at a stake. If the reservation is the root of many agonies of us, there are many others that have stemmed from our problems, like it also affecting forward-class people due to the quota system. In this scenario, not every backward class people is financially weak or influential, and not every forward is rich. So, I find the concept of Caste-based Reservation very unsuitable. this manner one rightful candidate isn't given the chance he/she deserves. Hence, it is rather important to analyze the impacts of reservations on us to know what good and bad this policy have done to our country since its independence.


The Constitution of India introduced reservations for the weaker sections of society just like the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes so as to safeguard their rights and supply them with opportunities, to offer them civil rights, equal status in society, to uplift them socially, to bring them at par with other sections of society and moreover to bring development within the lower strata of society. but the Reservation policy had a huge disadvantage on society. the consequences of reservation are severe and damaging.

The society has conceived reservation with mixed reactions. Some feel it's for the empowerment of the backward classes while others perceive it during a negative manner.[i] The reservation system means keeping out a deserved one and let a not-so-deserved the chance. Here not every backward class people are financially weak or uninfluential and not every forward is rich.

If these classes of individuals are denied opportunities in past, then the scenario is being repeated with the overall class within the present. The undeserving shouldn't reap the fruits of the labor of the deserving. Hence, it's rather important to research the impacts of reservations on us to understand what good and bad this policy have done to our country since its independence.

Reservation Policy in Pre- Independence Era

The legal origin of Reservation Policy in India began with lying down of the govt of India Act, 1919. After this Act, the controversial Simon Commission came up in 1927 to scrutinize the Montague- Chelmsford reforms. After this the Communal Award and the Poona Pact of 1932 came into force where the separate representations were to be provided to Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo- Indians, Europeans, and Dalits Depressed classes’. The award brought in criticism from Mahatma Gandhi but was strongly supported by Dr. BR Ambedkar and other minority groups. The stamping of the provisions of the Poona Pact, 1932 were wiped out the govt of India Act of 1935 where the reservation of seats for depressed classes was allotted. This was the scenario pre-independence era of India.

Post- Independence Era

Post- Independence the scenario changed and therefore the reservation policy gained even more momentum than the pre-independence era. The Constituent assembly chaired by Dr. B.R Ambedkar framed the reservation policy and lots of Articles within the Indian Constitution were dedicated for an equivalent.[ii]

Impact of Reservation in India:

There are various impacts of this system that have affected the lives and careers of millions of people across the country. It’s high time and this needs attention and amendment. With time the society and the mindset of the people have also changed and to match up to the present needs we need to incorporate changes that can bring better results.

Some impacts of reservation policies are as follows:

· Only Reserved are Deserved&Discourages Performers

As per a national survey, only 0.7% of the entire population gets scholarships through merit rest are reserved. Students studying hard and from the General category don’t have a bright chance to grab the chance albeit he/ she is from a financially unstable background. Eventually, they find themselves depressed and a few find yourself committing suicidal attempts. The time has come to amend the laws and alter rules for the great.

· Not Reaching Needy

Rich and influential backward caste candidates are becoming opportunities and benefited from it while poor backward class people, Harijans are still bereft of the facilities they rightfully possess. The reservation system is so corrupt and is employed in a negative way for meeting electoral requirements that it fails to satisfy its actual propaganda of helping and upraising Dalits and those who are socially and economically backward.[iii]

· Division of Society

We are a secular country and equality is a must for secularism to survive. It has divided the population into many castes and religions which has done no good for the nation as a whole. The quota system has made the Scheduled Castes (SC) , Scheduled Tribes(ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) as the primary beneficiaries of these policies under the Constitution.

· Used For Benefits

People get fake certificates made to enjoy the advantages of reservation. People don’t even wish to figure and study as they need to avail benefits of their caste. Therefore, they will never develop and prosper leaving the backward classes where they were with none improvement.

· Migration of Merits

When good students don’t find admissions in good colleges and don’t get good jobs thanks to reserved seats, they like migrating to other countries with better opportunities to perform and make a far better living, totally supported their performance levels. This has forced many fertile brains to go away from the country and settle abroad.[iv]

Landmark judgments regarding the reservation

Indra Sawhney V. Union of India – The Mandal Case

The 9 Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court by 6:3 majority held that the decision of the Union Government to reserve 27% of Government jobs for backward classes provided socially advanced persons- Creamy Layer among them are eliminated, is constitutionally valid. The reservation of seats shall only confine to initial appointments and not to promotions, and the total reservations shall not exceed 50 percent. The court accordingly partially held the two impugned notifications (OM), as valid and enforceable but subject to the conditions indicated in the decision that socially advanced persons- Creamy layer among Backward Classes are excluded. However, the court struck down the Congress Governments OM reserving 10% of Government jobs for economically backward classes among higher classes.

After the landmark Mandal case, Article 16(4-A) (through 77th Amendment) and 16(4-B) (through 81st Amendment) were added. According to clause 4-A, nothing in this Article shall prevent the state from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotion to any class or classes of posts in the service of state in favor of the SC and ST which in the opinion of the State, are not adequately represented in the services under the State.

Clause 4-B seeks to end the 50% ceiling on the reservation for SCs/STs and BCs in backlog vacancies which could not be filled up in the previous years due to the non- availability of eligible candidates.

85th Amendment Act replaces the words “in matters of promotion to any class” in clause 4- A of Article 16 with words “in matters of promotion, with consequential seniority, to any class.”[v]

M.R. Balaji and Ors. v. State of MysoreAIR 1963 SC 649[vi]

The State of Mysore issued an order declaring all communities except the Brahmin community as socially and educationally backward under Article 15(4) of the Constitution and reserving a total of 75 percent seats in Educational Institutions in favor of SEBCs and SCs/STs. Such orders were repetitive in nature. They were being issued every year, with little to no variation in the reservations being allotted.

When this order was challenged in the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution, it down claiming that backwardness is a social and educational factor, both. Though caste in relation to Hindus may be a relevant factor to consider, in determining the social backwardness of a class of citizens, it cannot be made the sole and dominant test. It was also stated that while there is no definite spectrum for granting reservation, it should still be defined in a broad way, and must be less than 50 percent.

Ashok Kumar Thakur v. Union of India

Justice Ravindran smelling the dangers from the present trend on the reservation had rightly opined that when more people aspire for backwardness instead of forwardness, the Country itself stagnates.[vii]


The reservation policy in India was adopted with a reason to uplift certain castes who were subjugated to atrocities, social and economic backwardness because of to the prevalent dominance of caste system in Hindu Society. This reason has somewhere lost its essence in the modern era, and the castes that should be actually benefitted are not being benefitted and It is quite impossible to declare Reservation policy as good policy, but what matters the most is not that whether the reservation policy is good or bad instead what matters is the idea and the reason behind its adoption. If that reason is losing its essence, then, of course, the reservation policy would gradually end up being bad.

Moreover, tons of criticism have been made on the standards of reservations. The socially and economically backward classes aren't actually in a practical and real sense socially and economically backward, the sole stamp of being from a backward caste is enough to gain profits in the name of reservations.

This reservation policy shouldn't become a ladder to hop on the steps of profit, money, and other related interests for those that are just roaming with the stamp of being a backward class and are literally socially and economically far more stable than the overall class.

“The urge to be one among the backward will gradually lead towards the stagnation in the development of the country.”

[i]Priyanka Ghoshposted on 2 years ago— updated on 3 weeks ago11. (2018, April 05). Disadvantages of reservation system in India: Masti Hub. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from [ii]Post, G. (2019, December 04). All About Reservation Policy In India. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from [iii]Ghosh, S., Shradha, & Foundation, T. (2017, March 02). Flaws Of The Reservation System- When Will We Rectify Our Mistakes?: Youth Ki Awaaz. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from [iv]Mishra, U. (2019, May 27). Impact Of Reservation On Education System. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from [v]Indra Sawhney V. Union of India, AIR 1993 SC 477. [vi]M.R. Balaji and Ors. v. State of Mysore AIR 1963 SC 649. [vii]Post, G. (2019, December 04). All About Reservation Policy In India. Retrieved September 05, 2020, from