The Great Indian Reservation System

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Author : Muskaan
Published on : April 01, 2017

Muskaan's Profile and details
3rd year student of BBA LL.B program at Unitedworld School of Law.

 Residence Reservation System

The seed for principle of reservation were sown way back in 19th century. Reservation, be it caste-based or domicile-based, has been a sensitive issue across the country and is least discussed in the political domain for some obvious reasons. But any kind of reservation in super specialty professional courses is not only contrary to Constitutional provisions, but also detrimental for the huge population of the country. Yes, the system should ‘respect merit.’ But they are just making it worse.

“Education is the most important element for the growth and prosperity of the nation”.- Dr. A.P.J.A. Kalam

Reservation is a tool to meet narrow political ends. It’s the collective fault of our forefathers and our not so recent democratic rulers. You can judge the system but not the beneficiaries. The repercussions of this existing reservation system are much more malicious, and their further reverberations are much more ravaging than it looks like. Only one domicile for entire India. Naina Saini v. State of Uttarakhand, AIR 2010 Uttarakhand a Single Judge of the Uttarakhand High Court has revisited the law relating to domicile of a person to declare that there is no separate domicile for each State and there is only one domicile for the entire country.

Let’s take an example for the sake of satisfaction of people out there imagine if in India there was a different punishment for murder if committed in Maharashtra, different matrimonial laws in west Bengal and Rajasthan different law for inheritance in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu or say in Andhra Pradesh rape was no offence in such a situation there is a need of domicile reservation as citizen would be governed by their regional laws. But this is not the scenario of our country we all our governed by same laws by the very same constitution which talks about equality for all. Therefore every citizen of the country right from Kashmir to kanyakumari should have only one domicile that is “Indian” especially for the purpose of education. The concept of regional or provincial domicile is alien to Indian legal system. The difference in personal laws in India is not regional based but religion or community based and a "muslim" or a "Hindu" will be governed by a single system of personal laws whether he resides in Tamilnadu or in Uttar Pradesh.

There are several states in India like Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura, Sikkim, Uttarakhand where there are no institutes for super specialty medical courses. Candidates from these states are bound to opt for the entrance examination conducted by other states. In such premises, any reservation based on geographical limits of any state shall diminish the scope for these candidates and shall also result in the sheer violation of their Constitutional rights.

The existing institutes are also spread across the country in a heterogeneous structure. The institutes in the states of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, West Bengal and Bihar conduct an entrance examination for eligible candidates across the country without having any state-based geographical boundaries. On the contrary, any candidate who is not domiciled in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana cannot sit for the entrance examinations conducted by the institutes in those states. However, any candidate who is a resident of Andhra Pradesh or Telangana practically enjoys the benefit of reservation in his or her own state and can also sit for the entrance examinations conducted by other states.

Discrimination in an educational institution based on the residence was another theme in Article 14 of the constitution. A judgment in 2014 in the case of Vishal Goyal and others v. State of Karnataka and others, candidates for admission to post graduate courses in medical and dental colleges in Karnataka challenged the state government’s requirement that only candidates of “Karnataka origin” were eligible to apply for these courses through the state quota. The Supreme Court declared these domiciliary requirements in state government medical and dental colleges as well as in the state quota in private medical and dental colleges to be ultra vires of Article 14 of the constitution. The court relied on its opinion in Dr. Pradeep Jain and others V. Union of India (1984) 3 SCC 654. Where the court held that, “when it came to institutions of higher education, consideration other than excellence, such as residential status of the candidate, would violate article 14 of the constitution, in addition to this it compromises on the quality and being detrimental to the interests of the nation.

In subsequent cases the court has refined and clarified the permissible scope of domiciliary requirements for state University admissions in the case of P. Rajendran vs. state of Madras (AIR 1968 SC 1012) the court struck down district wise classification of the candidates. In the case of Nidamarti Maheshkumar Vs. State of Maharashtra (AIR 1986 SC 1362) region wise classification for admission was defended on the ground that Vidharbha and Marthwada regions are backward as compared to Pune and Bombay backward regions. The court found no material to show that entire region within the jurisdiction of the University in Vidharbha is backward or entire region within the jurisdiction of the university in Pune University is advanced. The court declined to categorise the regions within the jurisdiction of various universities. However, states have continued to test the boundaries of these limits and instituted more stringent requirements. In vishal goyal’s case the requirement of completion of 10 academic years in Karnataka was struck down as being contrary to the decision in Dr. Pradeep jain’s case thereby constraining the power of the state to regulate this area. But the decision was confined only to medical and dental colleges.

Regretting that some “privilege remains unchanged” even after 68 years of independence, the national interest requires doing away with all forms of reservation in institutions of higher education, and urged the Centre to take effective steps “objectively”. As what about other students of the country (except medical) are they not studying are they not working hard or medical studies is at such a supreme level on the basis of which discrimination can be done. Is this not discrimination or is this discrimination on other students is not violating article 14 of the constitution or is this is not a compromise on the quality and being detrimental to the interests of the nation. The court cannot sustain such reservation giving a man his due, one of the basics of justice, finds reflected in right to equality but such a system cuts the roots of justice and hurt right to equality.

Institutional reservation is not supported by constitution especially domicile reservation. In the era of globalization where the nation as a whole has to compete with other nations of the world so as to survive excellence which cannot be given an unreasonable go by and certainly not compromised in its entirety. The following below are the drawbacks i.e., data of present scenarios of higher education arena:

JEE Main 2017 Quota – Quotas/ applicable in NITs

Candidates admitted seats in NITs on the basis of Home State (HS) Quota gets Advantage of 50% Reservation of seats.

NIFT 2017 Seats Reservation
Seats are reserved for SC/ST/OBC-NCL and Differently Abled Candidates (PHP)/ Foreign Nationals/ SAARC/ NRI under each program as per the Reservation Criteria. The allocation of seats to reserved categories under different programs is mentioned below:

Category Seat Reservation
Scheduled Caste (SC) 15%
Scheduled Tribe (ST) 7.5%
Other Backward Caste (OBC) Non-Creamy 27%
Differently Abled Person (PHP) 3% horizontal reservation for Differently Abled Person(having 40% or more disability)
Foreign Nationals/SAARC/NRI 15% (Supernumerary)
State Domicile 20% (supernumerary)
State Domicile in Jammu & Kashmir 35 % within 30 seats

The state domicile of the candidate is same where he/she has completed the Class 12th/graduation/qualifying degree. 6 supernumerary seats i.e. 20% seats in addition to the 30 seats are to be given to the candidates who belong to the States where the following NIFT campuses are located.

Reservation of Seats in NLUs in 2017

The number of seats are segregated considering the category to which the candidate belongs. It varies for different NLUs. The distribution of seats according to the state domicile of the candidate as per different NLUs is mentioned below:
1. NALSAR (National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University Of Law, Hyderabad)
Total Seats 127
State Domicile 28

2. NLIU- (The National Law Institute University, Bhopal)
Total Seats 154
State Domicile 54

3. WBNUJS- (West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata)
Total Seats 130
State Domicile 10

4. NLUJ- (National Law University, Jodhpur)
Total Seats 197
State Domicile 80

5. HNLU- (Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur)
Total Seats 182
State Domicile 80

6. GNLU- (Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar)
Total Seats 182
State Domicile 44

7. RGNUL- (Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab)
Total Seats 201
State Domicile 18

8. RMLNLU- (Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow)
Total Seats 160
State Domicile 80

9. CNLU- (Chanakya National Law University, Patna)
The data below describes the number of seats for each category for both UG and PG courses:
Total Seats 140
State Domicile 60

10. NUALS- (The National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi)
Total Seats 80
State Domicile 29

11. NUSRL- (National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi)
Total Seats 100
State Domicile 50

12. NLUJA-(National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam)
Total Seats 60
State Domicile 15

13. DSNLU- (Damodaran Sanjivayya National Law University Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh)
 Total Seats 190
State Domicile 120

14. TNNLS- (Tamil Nadu National Law School, Tiruchirappalli)
Total Seats 180
State Domicile 90

Out of 17 National Law Colleges in India 14 of them have State domicile reservation for their student that too most of them have 40% or above reservation for the students of their own states.

The past has been characterized by a massive worldwide educational expansion. Increasingly complex economies demand a better-educated workforce. Moreover, in a globalizing world culture, nation-states are increasingly expected to take over the duty of educating citizens. However, whether educational expansion is sufficient to reduce educational inequalities or whether explicit affirmative action is needed remain thorny issues facing many national governments, with little empirical evidence to guide future policies. Research on educational stratification suggests that inequality in education between different social strata continues and sometimes even widens in spite of educational growth.

Domicile reservation will gradually give rise to lethal radiations which may in the long run tend to break up the unity and integrity of the country. National unity is a paramount social value that envisions equal treatment of all citizens. As every coin has two sides therefore I agree moving to another state would create heavy burden in addition to the existing strenuous curriculum and other difficulties in case of female students etc. but, No region can be higher than those of the nation.

My Take:
(a) Support reservations at the primary schooling level or till the 12th standard.
(b) Do not spoon-feed people who’ve already made it past the 12th. They should fend for themselves. If they weren’t good at this level, they won’t be much better off later.
(c) Reservations (not based on merit) especially at the post-graduate level (IITs, IIMs, AIIMS, NLUs, NIFTs etc.) is ridiculous, no way should this be implemented