Reservation In India

What is the Actual Criteria for Reservation In India ? Where did it came from ? Why this Partiality ?

These questions might have Struck on your mind several times while filling any Job Application, College fees , or any Exam Form. The same happened with me and then i started exploring the answers to these questions. Here’s my first article on Reservation in India with all facts, stats and my point of view on the complete.

So, Basically Reservation in India was Proposed as a form of positive discrimination, to give an opportunity of Equality to the backward’s. Let’s have a Glance over it .

Birth of Reservation In India

The quota systems for certain castes and communities existed even before independence in several areas of British India. From records in 1882 Hunter Commission appointed and Mahatma Jyotirao Phule demanded a free compulsory education for all and proportionate reservation in government jobs. Then in 1902 Shahu, the Maharaja of the princely state of Kolhapur, introduced reservation in favor of non-Brahmin and backward classes. His 1902 measures created 50 per cent reservation for backward communities.

Then with some share in the administration by British Reservations was introduced in favor of some castes in 1908. A significant one emerged from the Round Table Conference of June 1932, when the Prime Minister of Britain, Ramsay Macdonald, proposed the Communal Award, according to which separate representation was to be provided for Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, and Europeans.

After Independence in 1947 there were some major changes in favor of the Scheduled Tribes (ST), Scheduled Castes (SC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).In 1954, the Ministry of Education suggested that 20 per cent of places should be reserved for the SC's and ST’s in educational institutions with a provision to relax minimum qualifying marks for admission by 5 per cent wherever required. In 1982, it was specified that 15 per cent and 7.5 per cent of vacancies in public sector and government-aided educational institutes should be reserved for the SC and ST candidates, respectively.

The Supreme Court of India ruled in 1992 that reservations could not exceed 50 per cent, anything above which it judged would violate equal access as guaranteed by the Constitution. It thus put a cap on reservations. However, there are state laws that exceed this 50 per cent limit and these are under litigation in the Supreme Court. For example, in the State of Tamil Nadu the caste-based reservation stands at 69 per cent and applies to about 87 per cent of the population.

The Criteria for Application of Reservation these days also varies from one state to another.

Areas Under Influence of Reservation

Influence on Employment Criteria

Today Employment system is highly influenced with the norms of reservation. This all started in 1992 when supreme court said that reservations in job promotions are “unconstitutional” but allowed its continuation for five years. In 1995, the 77th amendment to the Constitution was made to amend Article 16 before the five-year period expired to continue with reservations for SC/ST’s in promotions. It was further modified through the 85th amendment to give the benefit of consequential seniority to SC/ST candidates promoted by reservation.

In 2007, the Government of Uttar Pradesh introduced reservation in job promotions. However, citing the Supreme Court decision, the policy was ruled to be unconstitutional by the Allahabad High Court in 2011. The decision was challenged in the Supreme Court, which upheld it in 2012 by rejecting the government’s argument because it failed to furnish sufficient valid data to justify the move to promote employees on a caste basis.

Influence on Education System

In India most of the scholarships or student aid is available only to — SC’s, ST’s, BC’s, OBC’’s, women, Muslims, and other minorities. Only about 0.7% of scholarships or student aid in India is based on merit.

The following institutions have been kept out of the purview of Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006:

Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai and its ten constituent units, namely:
-Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay
-Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam
-Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore
-Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar
-Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata
-Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata;
-Institute of Physics, Bhubaneshwar
-Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
-Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad
-Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai
-Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
-North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, Shillong
-Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad
-Space Physics Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram
-Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun
-Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Katra
-Birla institute of technology and science, Pilani
-The LNM Institute of Information Technology , Jaipur

On 27 October 2015 the Supreme Court directed the state and the Central governments to end the regional quota and to ensure that super-specialty medical courses are kept “unreserved, open and free” from any domicile status after the court had allowed petitions files by some MBBS doctors.

Influence on Elected Bodies

In parliament, caste and tribe based reservations are provided to make it more representative.. Today, out of 543 seats in India’s parliament, 84 (15.47%) are reserved for SC/Dalits and 47 (8.66%)for ST/Tribes. Allocation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are made on the basis of proportion of Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the State concerned to that of the total population.

Reservation on the basis of


In higher education institutions, 22.5% of available seats are reserved for SC’s and ST’s students (7.5% for STs, 15% for SCs). This reservation percentage has been raised to 49.5% by including an additional 27% reservation for OBCs. This ratio is also followed in parliament and all elections .


Another basis of Reservation system is on the basis of Gender. Women’s Reservation Bill was passed by Rajya sabha on 9th March, 2010 on a voting of 186 votes against 1 vote. This Reservation varies from one state to another for eg; in Gujarat 33% of posts are reserved for females .


Central government has not granted any reservation on the basis of religion although in several states reservation is extended for religious minorities upto some extent .

Special Cases

Many other cases are extended in reservation system which is different in all states like Terrorist victims from Kashmir, Single girl child in Punjab, Sports quota ,Physically handicapped, NRI’s etc. .

My Point of View

This Reservation with no doubt given an opportunity of equality to a large backward population but it has many drawbacks also. I think this system is dividing us on many scales. Before independence of India the Britishers were well familiar with the fact that they could only rule in India by dividing Indians on the basis of caste, community and dividing its power.

After Independence now the same policy is been used by our politicians. As a result today we stand divided widely into Hindu, Muslim, SC, ST & OBCs with newer reservations coming up for other different sections of the society like Christians, Kashmiris, Jats, Kashmiri Pandits, Tribals etc and many other still demanding.
Reservations are nothing but means to prosper the vote banks of politicians. They are hindering the country’s growth, development and competency in all aspects.

As per Government policies 15% seats in educational institutes must be reserved for ST’s and SC’s but due to State governments own policies about 50% seats are under Reservation these policies are made in order to get support from particular community for their own greed.

I think we don’t need any reservation based on caste or community but to provide help to those who have minimal resources and merit should be given equal and due importance in admission procedures as well employment opportunities.

Coming to the end of the article i say we should stop this reservation on the basis of Caste or Religion but should promote Economic reservation in this way we would be successful in removing caste discrimination and unite the economically rich together in helping the economically poor, irrespective of their castes.


Vaibhav Sharma
Bachelor of Engineering,
Depp. Of Mechanical Engineering.,
School of Engineering And Technology,
Vikram University, Ujjain (M.P.)