Reasonable Should Be Reasonable

Written by Auro Prasad Parida pursuing BA., LLB (2nd year) from Lovely Professional University.


Through steps to increase their economic and educational prospects, reservation is a strategy intended to make up for historical discrimination against lower classes and minority groups. Reservation represents an effort to advance equal opportunity. It is frequently implemented in government and educational contexts to guarantee that minority groups within a community are included in all initiatives. Reservation is the practice of holding back certain castes and segments of society that are seen to be “behind,” such as the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Castes, etc., seats in particular work settings and educational institutions. The percentage of total seats that will be allocated to each specific minority group is determined by quotas for the same Due to the pervasive influence of the caste system in Hindu society, the quota policy in India has adopted a motivation to uplift particular castes who were subjected to atrocities, social backwardness, and economic disadvantage.

According to ARTICLE 15, no one shall be subjected to discrimination on the basis of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any combination of these factors. However, provisions may be made on the basis of special considerations for the advancement of scheduled tribes and scheduled tribes, as well as the socially and economically weaker classes.

All these comes under reasonable reservations according to the legal system.

Balaji and Ors. v. State of Mysore [1963] Suppl. 1 S.C.R. 439

In this instance, reservations in the State of Karnataka had been in place for a number of decades previous to the adoption of the Constitution and had continued to be so ever since. In accordance with Article 15(4) of the Constitution, the State of Mysore issued an order designating all communities—aside from the Brahmin community—as socially and educationally backwards and reserving a total of 75% of seats in educational institutions for SEBCs and SCs/STs.

With just a small change in the percentage of reservations, these orders were being issued yearly. Later, a similar decree was made, which reserved 68% of the places in the State’s engineering, medical, and technical institutions in favour of SEBC, SC, and ST students. Once more, SEBCs were split into two groups: more and less privileged classes.

As a result, Article 32 of the Constitution was invoked to contest the constitutionality of the contested order.

When overturning the aforementioned order, the Supreme Court’s five-judge panel stated the following guiding principles:

  1. Clause (1) of Article 15 and Clause (2) of Article 29 are provisos or exceptions, respectively, to Article 15(4).
  2. Backwardness must be both social and educational for Article 15(4) to apply. Though caste in relation to Hindus may be a crucial factor to take into account, it cannot be declared the exclusive and dominating test for establishing a class of persons’ socioeconomic backwardness. Since Muslims, Jains, and Christians do not adhere to the caste system, they are not subject to the caste test. Insofar as identifying all retrograde The creation of classes under the contested system exclusively based on caste is wrong.
  3. The reservation issued in accordance with Article 15(4) must be logical. It shouldn’t be such that it undermines or voids the primary equality rule in clause (1). Although it is impossible to predict the precise number of reservations that are acceptable, it is reasonable to say in a general and broad sense that they should be less than 50%.
  4. An executive order may be used to make a provision under Article 15(4) instead of legislation.
  5. Article 15 does not support the further division of backward classes into backward and more backward categories (4).


It is very difficult to judge if reservation policy is good or bad because those who benefit from it always support it and say it is excellent, while others who lose money as a result of the system usually criticise it and say it is bad. However, the idea and the justification for the policy’s adoption are more important than whether the reservation policy is good or bad. The reserve strategy would obviously become undesirable over time if that justification were to gradually lose its significance. The reserve policy is appropriate as long as a suitable applicant is not denied an opportunity due to the widespread reservation system. It is also important that the essence of the idea of the adoption of reservation policy should be maintained, and the actual backward classes who are in real and not fiction denied access to education, job opportunities etc be benefitted.

Leave a Comment