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Reservation in promotion, arguments in favor and against

Reservation in promotion; The Supreme Court earlier this month authorised the start of medical counselling for NEET-PG admissions for the

By Babra Wani
New Update
Reservation in promotion, arguments in favor and against

Ground Report | New Delhi: Reservation in promotion; The Supreme Court earlier this month authorised the start of medical counselling for NEET-PG admissions for the academic year 2021-22 and confirmed the validity of the 27 per cent OBC quota in an interim bail. According to a bench comprised of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna, the order would be accompanied by full reasons. However, the ruling garnered mixed responses from the citizens.

What is Reservation?

Reservation is a system that provides specific castes or sections with scholarships, tuition fee rebates, 49.5 per cent seats in educational institutions, jobs, qualification exams and age relaxation.  Reservation arose from a desire for representation of underrepresented sections in school, work, and politics. Based on provisions in the Indian Constitution, it permits the Union Government, as well as the States and Territories of India, to designate reserved quotas or seats, which decrease the requirements necessary in exams, job vacancies, and other situations for "socially and educationally backward citizens."

In other words, reservation is giving chances to such classes and sections that have been looked down upon over the years. The neglected classes, castes and people are given relaxation under the reservation quota.

There are three categories that are given reservation: Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes, abbreviated as SC, ST, and OBC, respectively. Until 1987 reservation was only available to SCs and STs, but after the Mandal Commission report was implemented, it was extended to OBCs as well.

  1. The Scheduled Castes or SC:-  In South Asia, these communities were treated as "below"  or at the bottom of the caste system. This section comprises of agricultural labourers, manual scavenging, tannery, washing clothing, daily wage workers, fishing, and other castes. These were subjected to untouchability, which entails a variety of social limitations, they could not touch people from other castes and we're even forbidden from sharing a common water supply or living in the same area.
  • 2. The Scheduled Tribes or ST:- Such tribes have "indications of primitive features, peculiar culture, geographical isolation, shyness of contact with the community at large, and backwardness." The majority of these people are Adivasis, or indigenous people, but also include nomadic tribes who were labelled "criminal tribes" during British administration. They range from subsistence agriculturalists to hunter-gatherer cultures who still live in forests. Many such tribes in the Northeast, are generally better off and have contact with the outside world. Some examples of Scheduled Tribes are Bodo, Gond, Banjara, and Santal.
  • 3. Other Backward Classes or OBC's:-  They were not originally included in the quota policy, but during Morarji Desai's presidency, the Mandal Commission examined all of India's communities to identify which castes were "behind" in contrast to the general population. The census data from 1931 revealed that 52 percent of India's population belonged to castes that were "backward" in terms of various socio-economic characteristics such as wealth or traditional occupation. The Constitution's Articles 15(4) and 16(4), which state that the government may grant reservations to "backward classes," allow for this option.

What is Reservation in Promotion 

Reservation of promotion is a countermeasure employed in government offices to fight general-category nepotism. It's worth mentioning that the representation of scheduled castes declines from 40% to 25% at the lowest levels. This is because dominant castes in positions of authority discriminate against and publish negative reports about poor castes. As a result, they face discrimination in high-level positions and promotions.

To rectify this inequity, the act was passed to include reservations in promotions where they are under-represented by promotions. Reservations apply if promotions are used to fill a post. A set of seats is set aside for under-represented castes if the state thinks it necessary.

Policy of Government on Reservation

In the case of direct recruitment on an all-India basis through an open competition, reservations of 15%, 7.5 per cent, and 27% are given to SCs, STs, and OBCs, respectively. Direct recruitment on an all-India basis rather than an open competition provides 16.66 per cent, 7.5 per cent, and 25.84 per cent reservation for SCs, STs, and OBCs, respectively. SCs and STs in all service groups A, B, C, and D have access to reservations in promotion by non-selection technique at a rate of 15% and 7.5 per cent, respectively, in all service groups A,B,C, and D.

Indirect recruitment to Group C and D posts, which often draw candidates from a locality or region, the percentage of reservation for SCs/STs in various states/UTs. It is calculated for OBCs based on the proportion of their population in the concerned State/UT, as well as the fact that overall reservation for SCs/STs/OBCs does not exceed 50%, and the OBC quota does not exceed 27%. In the case of promotion by selection technique, reservations are available up to the lowest rung of Group A.

Within Group A with an ultimate salary of Rs 18,300 or less, there is no reservation in promotion by selection, but SC/ST officers who are senior enough in the zone of consideration for promotion to be within the number of vacancies for which the selection list is to be drawn up will be included in that list if they are not considered unfit for promotion.

Arguments: is Reservation right or wrong?

In several places, there is a reservation for proper or proportional representation. When there is no proportionate representation in higher positions, the government decides to promote those in lower positions quickly in order to justify proportional representation.

The basic argument is that if everyone in India is equal, then every sector should portray it as so, with no monopoly or dominance of any one caste or class of people. Few castes or classes dominating any sector is improper, as well as bad and disgraceful. It is true, however, that politicians in higher political positions do not behave in the same way. Many people are of the belief that reservation in promotion is justifiable in order to give proper representation and proper position to every person belonging to every caste. It is pertinent to mention that reservation in promotion promotes the idea of equality.

However, there is a section of people who think that reservation of promotion is unfair. Many people believe that there are certain loopholes in the laws pertaining to the reserved categories and their reservation quota. Due to the caste-based quota system, deserving upper-class candidates are denied opportunities in school and employment, leading to frustration and discouragement.

Those who can afford it and are given opportunities leave the country (brain drain). They get what they deserve, but India loses its best talent. When low-income people are given opportunities, some people are not qualified enough or lack the skills hence taking away the opportunity from a deserving candidate. It goes without saying that this disappointment instils hatred in the minds of the upper class, which is passed down down the generations from generation to generation.

The Supreme Court has established a provision that states must collect quantifiable data on the representation of SCs and STs in a particular cadre of service and form a judgement regarding the inadequacy of representation based on that data if they want to give reservation to members of SCs and STs. Furthermore, regardless of how difficult it may be, the state must determine the impact of reservation on administrative efficiency. The state can only justify its action of offering reservations in promotions if these two criteria are met.

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