Reservation occupies an important place in our Indian Constitution. It was provided under the Constitution to help the deprived section of the society. The main purpose of reservation policy was to rectify the situation created by continuing social system and economic depravation which had been the lost of these people. 33 of 395 articles in the Constitution deal with the provision of reservation and their implementation as-far-as the scheduled castes are concerned.
The original pact on which the current reservation to SC/ST is based is 1932 Poona Pact between Dr. Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi. Accordingly the 1935 Constitution provided for reservation to the scheduled castes and tribes and also gave the definition of scheduled castes. The present Constitution has adopted the same details as found in 1935 Constitution regarding the definition. The Mandal Commission identified 3743 castes as Backward Castes and recommended 27 per cent reservations for them in Central Govt. However, several State Govts. has made provisions for reservation of backward castes from 1970 onwards.
Although our Government claims to establish a casteless society and still reservations are based on the castes. As-far-as poverty and backwardness is concerned, it is prevalent in all castes and not only in backward castes or scheduled castes and tribes. Andrei Betcille, studies Indian caste system and cautioned against “Caste Rest-vation”, a noted socialist which is counter productive and widens the traditional gap.
From last many years it has been noticed that the people of even upper classes have started resorting to malpractices like securing admission to professional colleges on the basis of false certificates which declare them as belonging to SC/ST. Therefore the consequence of reservation policy is not always beneficial even after 40 years of reservation. Harijans are as poverty stricken and backward as they were at the time India got freedom. Although to some of the backward families it may have proved as a blessing, but reservation has not achieved its objective. It has led to a lot of dissatisfaction and resentment among students and job seekers who cannot get admission to required courses and jobs. The Supreme Court also recommended delinking of reservation from castes.
However in spite of the large scale criticism of reservation scheme the Govt. maintains that the scheme must continue so that these people do not feel handicapped for no fault of their own. Only minorities, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, backward classes and women are enjoying the benefit of reservation. In the general election of 1989 the National Front Govt. and Janata Dal in their election manifesto promised to implement the recommendations of Mandal Commission and 27% reservation to backward classes within a year of coming to power. All the other political parties including Congress (I) were also committed to implement the Mandal Commission. Prime Minister Mr. V.P. sigh announced the acceptance to Mandal Recommendation and 27% reservation to backward castes in Parliament on August 7, 1990. The P.M. firmly declared in favour of caste based reservation so that these caste/communities become equal partners in deciding the destiny of the nation.
It is better if reservation is based on economic basis instead of castes. Therefore attempts should be made by Central Govt. to get a national consensus on the policy of reservation.