Expansion of Reservation
A commission was constituted under the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.Karunanidhi known as the Sattanathan Commission. Sattanathan Commission accounted for the welfare of the backward communities.
It is based on this commission, Backward Community got 31% and SC/ST received 18% as reservation in 1971.
By order (MS No.1156, Dated 02.02.1979) issued by the Social Welfare Department of Tamil Nadu. According to the order, the annual family income of Back Community was fixed as Rs 9000 and later this order was repealed.
A new order was issued, in which reservation for the backward community was increased from 31% to 50% and for SC/ST it is 18%.
To sum up, 68% of reservations came into effect in Tamilnadu. In continuation with this, in 1989, another suit was filed in the Supreme Court with regard to the allotment of separate reservations for the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community.
In this case, the Supreme Court of India delivered the verdict by which, the backward community, most backward, scheduled caste, and scheduled tribes received 30%, 20%, 18%, and 1% respectively.
The entire reservation was changed combinedly and 69% came into effect in Tamilnadu.
Reservation in Central Government: Mandal Commission
The central government under the Prime Ministership of V.P.Singh consented to the recommendations of the Mandal Commission. The Government issued an order which confirmed a 27% reservation for Backward Community in Central Government Services.
In opposing this order, Indira Sawhney filed a suit stating the order breached the constitutional provisions. She also added that reservation policy overrides the principle “All are equal before Law”.
Supreme Court delivered a clear verdict that 27% for a backward community in Central government services can be legalized. Further, it states, “the reservation should not reach beyond 50%”.
The Supreme court of India fixed 50% as the ceiling for reservation policy, whereas it was not mentioned in the constitution. Moreover, the highest ceiling of 50% can also be discharged.
Thus the Judgment says
“Although 50% is the ceiling fixed for the reservation in central government services, it may be changed, taking into account the diversified communities and abnormal situations of this nation”.
“People who are distant, those who could not mingle with the mainstream society or without opportunity, unique in culture may be exempted from this ceiling fixed by the Supreme Court.
50% of the ceiling may be exempted, said the same judges who delivered the famous verdict in this sensitive case.
That said, a member of consumer trust, K.N. Vijayan from Tamilnadu filed a suit stating, 69% reservation in Tamilnadu is given against the Supreme Court Verdict.
Supreme Court, however, in its Verdict mentioned that Engineering and Medical Colleges should not be provided reservations more than 50%. It also issued an Interim prohibition for the reservation.
Jayalalithaa – Samooga Neethi Kaatha Veeranganai
It was similar to the untoward happenings during 1951, which prompted the state government under J. Jayalalitha passed a bill in the state assembly by citing the reference from directive principles of state policy (Article 31(c)).
The bill on 30.12.1993 was given consent by the President of India on 19.07.1994 by which 69% of reservations received the fullest legal protection.
To avert further filing of a suit against the Tamilnadu Government, it endeavoured to incorporate reservation policy in the IXth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
Parliament passed the 76th Amendment in which the reservation policy of the Tamilnadu Government was incorporated in the IXth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Further, it came into retrospective effect on November 16, 1992.
Reservation for different communities is a temporary effort to get a place in the power sector. To attain social change and social ideals, caste hierarchy has to be demolished and eternal equality to be established. One of the means to attain permanent equality is “Inter-Caste Marriages”.
Marriages happening within caste may further strengthen the caste system and serve as an obstacle for an equal society. Casteless marriages and lateral thinking are the best contrivances for making radical social change.
Promoting Social Justice
In order to achieve social justice, it is often suggested that reservation policy is an important tool. We must realize that reservation in education and in jobs is one of the methods to achieve ‘Social Justice’ and not the only method.
Social Justice must necessarily premise upon the idea of egalitarian philosophy that no one is inferior or superior to anyone by birth.
Those who have been benefitted extensively from the philosophy of ascriptive status (status based on birth) must realize that such status cannot be part of a modern world; to be a modern person what is more important is to have the consciousness of being equal to everybody around us.
Unfortunately ‘modern’ is being equated with the latest electronic items and luxury items we possess. Having the latest gadgets will not make us modern.
For India to become a modern nation, this radical transformation is required more than anything. That is why social justice is organically embedded in the idea of modern India.
The Government of India appointed the 2nd Backward Classes Commission in 1979. It was headed by B.P.Mandal. Hence it was popularly known as Mandal Commission.
It was asked to determine the criteria to identify the socially and educationally backward classes in our country and recommend steps to be taken for their advancement.
One of the recommendations was that 27 per cent of government jobs be reserved for the socially and economically backward classes. It was in December 1980 members of the Mandal Commission submitted their report to Zail Singh, the then Home Minister.
After submitting the report B.P.Mandal said, “I know much labour has gone into the writing of this report. But let me tell you that today we have performed its immersion (visarjan) ceremon.”
Next ten years, the report lay in the Home Ministry’s office. The report was dusted up by the then National Front Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh (1931 – 2008) for implementation in 1990. Mandal Commission report became the single-most burning topic of controversy and heated discussion.
There was total confusion in the national political arena and V.P. Singh was accused of indulging in the worst form of opportunism. No major political party supported the implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations.
Some sections of people and associations opposed to this order filed a number of cases in court. Eleven judges of the Supreme Court heard arguments of both sides and by a majority, the Supreme Court judges in 1992 declared that this was valid.
At the same time, the Supreme Court asked the government to modify its original order. It said that well-to-do persons among the backward classes should be excluded from getting the benefit of reservation. Accordingly, the Department of Personnel and Training issued another Office Memorandum on September 8, 1993. The dispute thus came to an end and this policy has been followed since then.