Reservation And The Constitution
The word “reservation” has attained a particular significance in matters relating to public employment. The idea of the reservation to distinguish individuals or groups having certain characteristics from the general category of candidates. It is discrimination made in favor of the backward classes vis-a-vis the citizens in general category.
Our Constitution expressly recognizes the necessity for such discrimination in matters relating to public employment and confers power on the state to make reservations covering important aspects of public employment including appointments in particular. The constitution envisages a balance between the rights of backward classes and general stream.
The Constitutional Provisions
Reservation in relation to appointments in public services connote the settings apart of posts for being filled up by special categories of candidates. Reservation is expressly permitted under the constitution. The relevant Constitutional provisions with regard to the reservation to an appointment in public services it is Art. 15 and art. 16 and Art. 335 which are directly relevant.
Article 15 defines as under:-
Prohibition of Discrimination on grounds of Religion, Race, Caste, Sex or Place of birth –
(1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them
(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to –
(a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and palaces of public entertainment; or
(b) The use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public
(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children
(4) Nothing in this article or in clause ( 2 ) of Article 29 shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
(5) Nothing in this article or in subclause (g) of clause (1) of article 19 shall prevent the state from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the the Scheduled Tribes in so Far as such special provisions relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state, other than the minority educational institutions referred to in clause (1) of Article 30.
Article 16 defines as under -:
Equality of Opportunity in matters of Public Employment
(1) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State
(2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect or, any employment or office under the State
(3) Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from making any law prescribing, in regard to a class or classes of employment or appointment to an office under the Government of, or any local or other authority within, a State or Union territory, any requirement as to residence within that State or Union territory prior to such employment or appointment
(4) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State
(4A) Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotion, with consequential seniority, to any class or classes of posts in the services under the state in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Schedule tribes which, in the opinion of the state, are not adequately represented in the services under the state.
(4B) Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from considering any unfilled vacancies of a year which are reserved for being filled up in that year in accordance with any provision for reservation made under clause (4) or Clause (4A) as a separate class of vacancies to be filled up in any succeeding year or years and such class of vacancies shall not be considered together with the vacancies of the year in which they are being filled up for discrimination the ceiling of fifty percent reservation on total number of vacancies of that year.
(5) Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any law which provides that the incumbent of an office in connection with the affairs of any religious or denominational institution or any member of the governing body thereof shall be a person professing a particular religion or belonging to a particular denomination
Article 335 defines as under -:
Claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to Services and Posts–The claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.