Quick Reads

Reservation is a weapon of social justice, not poverty alleviation

A big discussion is being deliberately spread in society that the basis of the reservation should be financial.

Credit : Indie Journal

Vikas Parasram Meshram | A lot has been written on the split decision of the Constitution Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court upholding reservation for economically weaker sections, which need not be repeated. Only one thing needs to be highlighted there was no division in the constitution bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court regarding the economic reservation. A five-judge bench agreed that reservation should be given to economically weaker sections and is in keeping with the basic nature of the Constitution. The division was about whether the economically weaker sections like Dalits, Adivasis and OBCs would get the benefit of this reservation or not.

In all the societies of the world, there has been some kind of discrimination. It is happening on the basis of race, caste, caste. The result is that some sections of society are economically, educationally and politically backward. Affirmative action is implemented to bring these groups to an equal footing in society and prevent discrimination. It refers to provisions or procedures aimed at eliminating unlawful discrimination between people in society, removing the effects of such past discrimination and preventing such discrimination in the future. It is an act of identifying and benefiting a group that is socially disadvantaged and discriminated against in its culture.

When the discussion of casteism, communal violence and caste discrimination starts in our country, it reaches reservation and finally, the historical oppression of such a large deprived section of the people disappears from the discussion and the whole issue remains reservation versus rights. The poor are converted, the newspapers are filled with daily reports of communal violence, but once discussed, caste itself is dismissed and it is argued that the situation has changed. An attempt is made to prove that all are equal by giving examples of some Dalits occupying high positions. Then a few poor people from the common caste are brought face to face and generally, in the whole process, the whole cruel system of caste is very conveniently ignored.

Therefore, a big discussion is being deliberately spread in society that the basis of the reservation should be financial so that all the needy can get its benefit.

It is forgotten that not all the needy get the benefit of caste reservation, however, the people who benefit from caste reservation do not have to fall victim to caste discrimination. Thus, in our country, the real intention of affirmative action in the form of reservation and the truth of the caste system are being tried to be hidden by constitutional coercion and the whole concept of reservation is being attacked.



Caste is the main weapon of discrimination and exploitation in our country's society and its nature is different from other countries. Caste is not only a tool of discrimination here, but it is the bedrock of Hindu society and not only ensures but also supports the grossly unequal distribution of resources and power in society. In fact, Shudra and Atishudra are not part of the Chaturvarnas of Hindu society.

The main purpose of reservation is to bring the Dalits-Tribals who have been pushed to the corners for thousands of years into the mainstream of the society and reservation will not only empower the Scheduled Castes and Tribes but for that many other efforts will have to be made along with reservation.

Secondly, the purpose of reservation is not only economic empowerment. Reservation is a multi-pronged effort to increase the representation of disadvantaged sections in education and government jobs. The benefit of reservation is not only limited to the beneficiary but also extends to other families and communities and opens closed doors for them as well.

When marginalised people make policy, more inclusive policies are made. The long-term objective of reservation is individual and collective social upliftment of the beneficiary. Social equality is an important objective because caste discrimination not only deprives disadvantaged castes of resources but also results in social slavery.

So proponents of economic reservation should understand that reservation is not a poverty alleviation programme that aims to remove poverty of individual or family. It is not necessary to give an example that reservation provides economic benefits to the disadvantaged castes, but social equality has to go through a long process. Don't we know that there are many caste prejudices among their subordinates against Dalits working in high positions? Economically able Dalit students and teachers also face caste discrimination in higher educational institutions of the country.

This needs to be clarified before proceeding It is right that poverty should be eradicated from society and poor families are left behind in education and then out of the job race due to lack of resources. So they need a helping hand to move forward.

But while supporting it, it is very necessary to assert the correct concept of the provision of reservation in the constitution.

We should consider the reactions of the citizens, media and intellectuals of our country regarding the implementation of the 103rd constitutional amendment by the government in 2019 and now the honourable Supreme Court has upheld it. The casteist face of our society will come to the fore. Our newspapers and television channels do not miss a single opportunity to start a discussion against reservation, it is a different matter that the news of communal violence and discrimination never make the headlines. Many intellectuals of the country firmly take the stand that they are against reservation in principle.

When the Mandal Commission came into force, there were fierce and violent protests across the country. Many organisations like 'Youth for Equality' were established in many educational institutions of the country and are still functioning today. However, there was no opposition to implementing reservation for economically weaker sections. The theorists who oppose reservation to the principle of equality are blissfully silent.



No one cares about the so-called quality anymore. However, since the implementation of EWS reservation, there have been many instances of OBC students with low marks in entrance exams being admitted to educational institutions. But where is missing Dronacharya who is concerned about quality? No hashtag trended on social media either. But why? Because when the reservation is for dominant castes then everything is fine. But if the hardworking but deprived castes of the country get a share, the quality is disrespected. This is utter hypocrisy.

Although the real question is that till date the courts have not allowed the reservation limit to go above 50 percent. In a way, after the case of Indira Sahni and others v. Central Government, it was established that not only the limit of reservation cannot be increased beyond 50 percent but in the present case, the Supreme Court not only overturned everything but also gave a very unique explanation.

Earlier very strict criteria were applied to implement reservation. The courts had the same attitude. For example, if a caste wants to get the benefit of Scheduled Caste reservation, there should be a thorough test that the caste is extremely backward. There are various criteria for this. This needs to be supported with concrete evidence that the identified community is historically disadvantaged and suffers from under-representation, which is significant enough to warrant reservation. But neither the government nor the Supreme Court has imposed any such strict condition while implementing reservation for EWS.

However, it is also seen that it is not for the economically backward. Rs 8 lakh per annum or Rs 70 thousand per month income limit says a lot to avail EWS reservation. If a person who earns Rs 70 thousand a month is poor, what do we call those crores of people whose monthly income is less than Rs 15 thousand? The average income of the citizens of the country is one and a half lakh rupees per annum and income tax is payable on an annual income of two and a half lakh rupees. Eligibility conditions for EWS reservation are completely baseless.

SC/ST reservations are heavily criticised by the social contractors for not benefiting the poor Dalit-Tribals, but in the name of EWS, these so-called intellectuals have sealed reservation directly to the economically rich. Although the upper caste classes got the legal right to kill others even in education and employment.

The exclusion of poor Dalits, tribals and OBCs from EWS quota is also a matter of serious concern. Those deprived of education and resources and filled with social inferiority will be the poorest, no research is needed. When Aadhaar is economic, why discriminate on the basis of caste. Although the majority judgment of the Supreme Court Bench has argued for classification into gold castes, it does not seem very convincing. Only 5.4 percent of the poor come from general castes, so why 10 percent reservation for them?



The purpose of reservation is to create an equal society by eliminating social and economic backwardness and inequality arising from historical discrimination. In our country, this discrimination has not happened with individuals but with caste groups. Therefore the identity of the man has become his caste. For this reason, caste is recognised as a beneficiary of the reservation to end inequality and exploitation.

In contrast, EWS reservation clearly emphasises individual economic status, which is not linked to social group identity. There are also concerns that this EWS reservation decision will fundamentally change the group-based reservation policy and make it individual-centric. To put it simply, constitutionally, the basis of the reservation is not economic. Given the current climate, there are more risks that economic aspects will be prioritised over social caste based on reservation in the future.

As humanist ideology under political auspices is openly attacking the constitution to restore casteism in our country, this trend which started with EWS reservation is seen moving towards the end of caste reservation. On the one hand there is a definite rehabilitation of caste, This is reflected in the increasing attacks and on the other hand the exercise of abolishing reservation is going on.

This is a matter of deep thought, but the whole process seems unnecessary given the current economic and social policies of the government. The above discussion is important in its place, but while implementing the entire reservation policy, we notice that the number of public institutions is low due to massive privatisation in the country. Where will you get reservation when public institutions will not last? The situation is that even in public institutions in the field of higher education, the fees have increased to such an extent that students are unable to complete their education despite reservation. There is no question of reservation or any kind of affirmative action in the private sector. Here you are made to sit outside because of your caste.

Therefore, while there is a need to fight to preserve the right concept of reservation, there is also a need to continuously fight against the government's economic policy which kills the opportunities of the underprivileged through privatisation. This battle for social justice will have to be fought on both fronts. Dalits, tribals and other backward classes who form a large part of the working masses will not have to give up their share in education, employment and resources, of which land is the most important. For that, the priest or Lord Manu himself comes and teaches salvation by following the caste system.

The salvation of the working class will be possible only through struggle and it is not possible without the struggle for social justice. The rulers of the country will do all kinds of tricks to break our unity. BJP has been able to win elections against one caste even among Dalits. The point is simple, according to the representation in the society, according to the resources of the country and according to the politics, there should be that much share. A caste-wise census is required for that.