The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen | supreme court on reservation

Posted by Punit shukla on August 30th, 2019

The dominant argument of Opponents of the reservation is that Reservation dilutes merit. There was consistent litigation in courts challenging reservation in promotion policies for SC/ST reservation. The main contention has been that reservation dilutes merit. First and foremost thing we must understand is that Merit and reservation are not really connected issues. Reservation is all about social representation, proportional representation and distributive A noteworthy thing we need to understand is the question of merit is raised only when there is the talk of SC/ST/OBC reservation.

Recently govt passed the bill giving reservation on an economic basis. In this case, there is no passionate debate on TV discussing the issue of merit getting undermined. When there is a demand for women’s reservation, we do not hear any debate on dilution of merit because it is going to benefit upper-caste women the most.

There is no hue and cry against doctors, engineers who graduate from private medical and engineering colleges where criteria are money, not marks; but a lot of doubts are raised on the ability of the SC/ST doctors who pass from general medical colleges without any concession in passing the exam during their entire graduation. Last year, Times of India conducted a survey of 409 colleges and of 57000 students. The Title of this published survey report is ‘Money, not quota dilutes the merit’.

According to this survey, the average score of the students who cleared the NEET exam and took admission in Govt medical colleges was 448 out of 720. The average score for private medical colleges across all quota was 345. The average score of scheduled caste students admitted into govt medical colleges was 398. For the students admitted under SC quota in govt college, their score was 398 and the overall average score of SC students was 367. Both the scores of SC students were much higher than that of a quota of private colleges.

In conclusion, the survey report states that the correlation between NEET score and the fee clearly shows that it is the money which dilutes the merit and not the reservation policy. Now let us see what we understand by merit? What actually it should be. Let us understand it in detail. We will also discuss the views of the honorable Supreme Court on this issue. A general conception of merit is to score high marks in exams especially in competitive exams.

In India, the idea merit is to score more than cut off marks in board exam and competitive exam; and ability to write and speak fluently in the English language is also considered as a mark of merit. To begin with, if merit is decided by on the basis of marks scored in the exam then we must ask certain basic questions. Is our Examination system fair? Has it been ensuring equality of opportunity to marginalized poor communities in India?

In an Interview published in Indian Express, Ex-director of NCERT Krishna Kumar says, In India, one function of the examination system is to create an illusion of equal opportunity in an otherwise highly unequal society. It is in the exam that all children — no matter what their background is, or whether they study in a posh school or a poor school — face the same test of three hours. Their names are turned into roll numbers. The identity of paper-setters and evaluators is not revealed. Thus, confidentiality enhances the legitimacy of a situation where children from contrasting circumstances are given an equal-looking opportunity. Dr. Ambedkar tried to convey exactly this in 1927, in an independent report submitted to Simon Commission.


Punit shukla

About the Author

Punit shukla
Joined: March 11th, 2019
Articles Posted: 39

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