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JITNI ABADI, UTNA HAQ' :THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT



  May 18, 2024

JITNI ABADI, UTNA HAQ' :THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONTEXT



'Jitni abadi, utna haq' (As much right as the demographic strength)

The slogan 'Jitni abadi, utna haq' calls for proportionate reservation in government jobs based on demographic strength. However, it is important to understand the constitutional, judicial, and historical aspects related to reservation in India.

Constitutional Provisions

Article 16(4)

● Provision for Reservation: Article 16(4) allows the State to make provisions for reservation in 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.

Article 335

● Claims of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes: The claims of members of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) should be considered when making appointments to government services and posts.

● Efficiency of Administration: This consideration must be balanced with the need to maintain the efficiency of administration.

In simple terms, while SC and ST candidates should be given due consideration for government jobs, it should not compromise the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the administration.

Judicial and Historical Context

Indra Sawhney v. Union of India (1992)

● Mandal Commission Recommendations: The Supreme Court upheld the Mandal Commission's recommendation for reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in 1992.

● 50% Limit: The Court established a 50% limit on caste-based reservations.

Tamil Nadu Reservation

● 69% Reservation Law: In 1993, Tamil Nadu enacted a law reserving 69% of seats in colleges and jobs in the state government. This law was placed in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution to avoid judicial scrutiny following the Indra Sawhney judgment in 1992 by the 76th Constitution Amendment Act.

50% Limit and Other States

Exceeding 50% Reservation: Many states provide more than 50% reservation due to their social composition. The Supreme Court has not yet rejected such reservations, indicating a complex balance between judicial rulings and social needs.

Final Comments

Beyond caste and economic status, there is a need for policies addressing broader inequalities, including those based on gender, religion, and regional disparities. A more holistic approach to social justice could help address social and economic exclusion.

Legally and ethically, the principle of 'Jitni abadi, utna haq' challenges the foundational values of equality enshrined in the Indian Constitution. It suggests a shift towards a more numerical, demographic-based approach to justice, which could undermine the principle of equal citizenship by reinforcing caste identities rather than transcending them.



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