January 11, 2019
Protest by Maratha Kranti Morcha for reservation in 2016. Source: Midhanesh/Wikimedia Commons

THE PARLIAMENT recently passed the bill to allow 10 per cent reservation for poor in general category in education and jobs.

Many hail the move as a corrective  measure even though a petition has already been filed in the Supreme Court challenging its legality citing that the court had earlier put a cap on reservation at 50 per cent.

The history of reservation in India begins much before independence when the king of Kolhapur introduced reservation in education for non-Brahmin and backward castes in 1902. Since then, it's been a topic of much debate and politico-legal battles.

Here's a timeline on the same.

1902: Shahu, the Maharaja of the princely state of Kolhapur, introduces reservation in favour of non-Brahmin and backward classes in education.

1921: Mysore initiates reservation for backward castes after a decade long social justice movement against the repression of non-Brahmin castes.

1932: Communal Award by British government grants separate electorates in India for Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans and Depressed Classes (then untouchables). Later, Poona Pact between M K Gandhi and B R Ambedkar reserves seats for depressed castes within Hindu electorates

1942: Viceroy's Executive Council recommends 8.5 per cent reservation for Scheduled Castes in civil services. B R Ambedkar was a member of the council

1950: Indian Constitution commits to reservations for Scheduled Castes and Tribes. A Government Order excluded converts (except four Sikh Dalit castes) but by 1990s, Sikh and Buddhist castes were included, but Christian and Muslim Dalits remain excluded.

1951: First amendment in Constitution to legalise caste-based reservation in face of court cases against quota.

1990: Mandal Commission report recommending 27 per cent reservation to OBCs is implemented by Prime Minister V P Singh

1992: Supreme Court orders 50 per cent cap on caste-based reservation. Also strikes down Narasimha Rao government’s move to reserve 10% government jobs for poor among Upper Castes. "Economic condition not a criteria for reservation."

2019: Parliament passes Article 15 amendment bill allowing 10 per cent quota for poor in higher education and jobs. Bill challenged in Supreme Court.

2020: Reservation in legislature was only till 1960 but it has been extended every 10 years. Latest extension was made in 2010 and is valid up to 26 January 2020. There was never a deadline for reservation in education and jobs.


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