Cast Based reservation in India

The Indian caste system is one of the oldest surviving forms of segregation present in the world. It originated from the Chatur Verna system of the Vedic period and till the British raj, it was rooted in Indian society.

The caste-based reservation system is an affirmative action program for protecting the oppressed castes of India from caste-based discrimination. William Hunter and Jyoti Rao Phule 1882 originally conceived the idea of the caste-based reservation system. It appears in the constitution, by the efforts of B.R. Ambedkar and initially, reservations were provided only for SCs and STs. OBCs were included in the ambit of reservation in 1991 on the recommendation of the Mandal commission. After the Indra Sawhney vs. Union of India case, 50% reservation is assured for Dalit, Adivasis, SCs, STs and OBCs.

The ethics behind this holistic system is to ensure equality and to correct the historical injustice faced by backward castes in the country. This system provides a level playing field for the backward section as they cannot compete with those who have had access to resources and means for centuries.

However, in the guise of this system, economically sound people from lower castes make use of most of the reserved seats, thus counteracting the spirit of reservations. Moreover, the upper-caste poor is also facing discrimination and injustice which breeds frustration in society. Considering this issue, parliament recently passed the constitutional bill to provide 10% reservation for economically backward upper classes.

To sum up, it cannot deny that reservation is fair as far as it provides appropriate positive discrimination for the benefit of the downtrodden and economically backward sections of society.

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