Critical Analysis of Minorities and Reserved Classes Status in India, Essays for Sociology. Presidency University
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Critical Analysis of Minorities and Reserved Classes Status in India, Essays for Sociology. Presidency University

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CONTEMPORARY HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES IN INDIA

Critical Analysis of Minorities and Reserved Classes Status in India

By: Aditya Gupta

20171BAL0001

Presidency University,

School of Law,

Email- [email protected]

Mobile No. 7975343975

Flat No. 106 Legend Hill View Apartment, Vidya Nagar Cross,

New International Airport Road, Bangalore. 562157.

Table of Contents

Contents Page No.

1

Table of Content 2

Abstract 3

1.1 Introduction 4

1.2 What is the meaning of the word minority? 5

1.3 In Indian Constitution who are termed as

minorities?

5

1.4 Types of Minorities in India from the

context of The Indian Constitution

6

1.5 Provisions which are available for the

protection the rights of Minorities under the

India Constitution

7

1.6 Reserved Classes 9

1.7 Constitutional and Legal Safeguards for

SC/ST

9

1.8 Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 11

1.9 Conclusion 13

Abstract

2

This is the most talked about topic in our India’s politics, citizens, and in many Government

policies. Here for this topic different people have different opinions as everybody has their own

point of view, mind structure, belonging from different societies also came here. Some people

say there should be give equality to the belonging from minorities, some say there should be no

right to be given to the minorities. Somehow we cannot stop them to speak anything because we

belong to a fully democratic country in which everyone should have right to speak. In process of

uplifting the India’s minorities some people have managed a place in the list of people who are

helping for publicizing the topic of minorities in the country such as:- our politicians, our media,

etc.

But all these tactics didn’t worked because all the topics which are raised are for the publicity

which will be gained through speaking on these kind of soft issues of the society. So let us find

what is the word minority? Who are minority? What are the different things that are done by the

government for the betterment of the minorities? Etc. Let’s see what provisions are provided by

our Constitutions are and let us decide whether these provisions should be there or not. Whether

these provisions are working or not.

I am going to use Doctrinal method to find out answer of all these questions and also in the

conclusion I am going to give my own views on this whole article. As this issue is very soft issue, I will not say anything which can affect the harmony of our country.

After almost 70 years of independence we are still facing such kind of issues in our country, it is

very disgusting thing because it shows the failure in our democratic system. Everyone thinks

why I am raising this issues. The reason behind raising of this kind of issue is the recent news

which came from different parts of India about Supreme Court’s Judgment for change in

Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989. And giving reservation to Lingayat Samaj by the state

government Karnataka.

Who belongs to reserved classes? Answer to this is the people belongs from SC i.e. Scheduled

Castes, ST i.e. Scheduled Tribes, OBC i.e. Other Backward Classes, and also Women in some

sectors has the title of reserved class.

1.1 INTRODUCTION

3

This is the most talked about topic in our India’s politics, citizens, and in many Government

policies. Here for this topic different people have different opinions as everybody has their own

point of view, mind structure, belonging from different societies also came here. Some people

say there should be give equality to the belonging from minorities, some say there should be no

right to be given to the minorities. Somehow we cannot stop them to speak anything because we

belong to a fully democratic country in which everyone should have right to speak. In process of

uplifting the India’s minorities some people have managed a place in the list of people who are

helping for publicizing the topic of minorities in the country such as:- our politicians, our media.

But all these tactics didn’t worked because all the topics which are raised are for the publicity

which will be gained through speaking on these kind of soft issues of the society. But all these

thing had not any impact on the society of the minorities. So let us find what is the word

minority? Who are minority? What are the different things that are done by the government for

the betterment of the minorities? Etc. Let’s see what provision are provided under Constitution

and let us decide whether these provisions should be there or not. Whether these provisions are

working or not. Who are reserved classes? What are they present for? What protection is given to

them?

I am going to use Doctrinal method to find out answer of all these questions and also in the conclusion I am going to give my own views on this whole article. As this issue is very soft

issue, I will not say anything which can affect the harmony of our country.

After almost 70 years of independence we are still face such kind of issues in our country, it is

very disgusting thing because it shows the failure in our democratic system. Everyone thinks

why I am raising this issues. The reason behind raising of this kind of issue is the recent news

which came from different parts of India about Supreme Court’s Judgment for change in

Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989. And giving reservation to Lingayat Samaj by the state

government Karnataka. Minorities are a small group of people within a community or country,

differing from the main population in race, religion, language, or political persuasion.

1.2 What is the meaning of the word minority?

4

Now the question arises who are minorities. In general English it has many meanings but as per

the political level it is defined as a small group of people within a community or country,

differing from the main population in race, religion, language, or political persuasion. Nowadays

it has mostly became the political matter. No one is finding the seriousness of this matter.

1.3 In Indian Constitution who are termed as minorities?

The framers of the Indian Constitution didn’t want to define the term minority because of the

hostile socio-political conditions existing at the time of the partition. Even the term minority has

been kept to a minimum and has been used only in Article 29 and Article 30 of The Constitution

of India. Accordingly by Article 25 to Article 30 guarantees protection of religious, cultural and

educational rights to both majority and minorities of the country. It is necessary that how special

provision of protection of minorities are provided as the majority community is more likely to

gain political power in a democratic form of Government.

Government of India has made National commission of minority act, 1992, which establish the

National Commission for Minorities, also does not differ minorities, it only allows the central

Government to identify a community as minority. If the Central Government feel it to be

necessary for protecting and monitoring its progress and development through the Commission

The Indian Constitution guarantees all necessary rights and freedom to minorities. However the expression minority is not adequately defined. During the drafting of the Indian Constitution the

constitutional assembly set an advisory committee. The advisory committee is headed by Sardar

Patel. He appointed five sub- committees. One of the committee was the minority sub-

committee. This Sub-Committee suggested that:-

1. Minority should be protected in respect of their language, script, culture.

2. No minority whether based on religion, community or language should be discriminated against with regards to admission in state educational institutions.

3. No religious instructions should be compulsory imposed on minorities.

4. All minorities whether based on religion, community or language should be free to establish and administer their own educational institution.

5

5. The state while providing aid to educational institution shall not discriminate against the institution under the management of whether based on religion, caste or language.

6. Most of the recommendations of the sub- committee in cooperated including the Indian Constitution. However the final provision of the Indian Constitution, referred to types of

minorities on the basis of religion and language.

1.4 Types of Minorities in India from the context of The Indian Constitution

The constitution of India talks about two types of minorities as:-

a. Religious minority.

b. Linguistic minorities

India is the land of diversity consisting of different religions with Hindus as the majority. Thus

except Hindus all followers of other religions are minorities for a National law. But for a State

law, Hindus might also be in minorities. A National Minorities might be in majority. For

Example in Kashmir Hindus are in minorities and Muslims are in majority. Similarly, Christians

are in majority in some eastern states while Hindus are in minority.

In order to insure the protection of religious minorities, several religious rights have been

granted to the people in religious institutions under Article 25 and Article 26 of the Indian

Constitution. India is a secular community. A secular state does not mean a religious state. In matter of religion the state is natural. The State has no religion of its own and it protect the

religion and interfere in the matter. Concept of secularism is closely related to the Right to

Equality, as secular state will not discriminate on the basis of the religion.

The National Commission of Minority Act, 1992 has allowed the Central Government to notify

minorities and the Government has notified Five religious Communities as minorities. These are

Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Paresis. Later Jains were given also minority status.

As far as Linguistic minorities are concerned India has more than 1600 Mother Languages

belonging to five different language family. The constitution originally listed 14 Languages

under its 8th Schedule. However the list has been expanded. India’s Language policy has primary

goals firstly specify the language to be used in administration, judiciary, legislature, etc.

And also language development and survival oriented.

6

Classification of the linguistic minority is not based on national level. In each state there is a

language which is spoken by Majority of the residents of the state. All others who do not speak

the language belong to the Linguistic Minority.

1.5 Provisions which are available for the protection the rights of Minorities under the

India Constitution1

1.5.1 FOR RELIGIOUS MINORITIES

1. Article 25:- It Provides freedom of conscience and practice of propagation of religion as per it, every person has the right to freely profess, practice propagate.

It is a person right to have beliefs seen by him necessary for his spiritual well being

Article 25 also gives the right to profess, practice and propagate any religion. This

involves rights of a person to freely disclose his religious identity and observe his

practice deemed observed for any practices.

So rights of Hindu to do “Pujas” or rights of Muslims to offer “Namaz” all comes within

religious practices are protected under Article 25. It also allows a person to freely

propagate his religious i.e. spread the treaty of his religion. Propagation of religion can be

done by a person in his individual capacity or on behalf of any Constitution. The right

provided under Article 25 can be regulated on the grounds of public order, morality and health. State can also make regulations relating to any economic, financial, political or

secular activity associated with any religious activity.

2. Article 26:- It gives us religious denomination derived to establish institution for religious and charitable trusts. Under Article 26 there religious denomination can acquire

property and administer the same.

This article runs parallel to the provision of Article 29 and Article 30.

Religious denominations not falling under Article 29 and Article 30 cannot establish and

maintain religious and educational institutions under Article 26.

While Article 29 and Article 30 are applicable to minorities, religious denominations of

majority. Religious community can set up educational institutions under Article 26. The

7 1Meaning and explanation of the Articles as per The Constitution of India for the wellbeing of minorities

rights specified under Article 29 can be regulated by states on the grounds of public

order, minority and health

3. Article 27:- It provides for freedom from payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion. The state cannot tax any person for promotion and maintenance for

any particular religion or denomination.

4. Article 29 and Article 30:- It provides for cultural and educational rights of minorities. Any section citizen’s having distinct language, script or culture have the right to conserve

it. Citizens can establish and maintain educational institution for this purpose. It also

provide that any educational institution receiving state funding cannot deny admission to

a citizen on grounds only of Religion, Race, Caste, Language or any of them.

Article 30 furthers the right provided under Article 29. It gives minorities set up

administration to individual institution. The Indian Constitution doesn’t have the word

minority.

In absence of a definition, it is presumed that Indian Constitution recognize only two

types of minorities.

i. Linguistic Minority

ii. Religious Minority

Which I have discussed above.

1.5.2 FOR LINGUISTIC MINORITIES

Linguistic Minority: - It is a class of people whose mother language is different from that of

the majority in the state or part of a state. The Constitution provides for the protection of the

interests of linguistic minorities. Some of the provisions are as follows:-

1. Article 347:- It provides for special provision relating to language spoken by a section of the population of the state. In case a demand is made to the president by a substantial

population of a state for reorganization of any Language spoken by them. President can

officially recognize the language.

8

2. Article 350:- It gives right to every person to submit a representation for the redress of any grievance to any officer or authority of the union or a state in any of the Language

used in the union or the state, as the case may be.

3. Article 350-A: - It imposes a duty on the state to endeavour to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother language at the primary stage of education to children

belonging to Linguistic minority. The President is authorized to issue such direction to

any state, as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provisions of such

facilities.

4. Article 350-B: - It empowers the President to appoint a special officer for linguistic Minorities. It is the duty of the special officers to investigate all matters relating to the

safeguards of provision for Linguistic Minorities under this Constitution and report to the

President upon these matters at such intervals as the President may direct. The President

shall cast reports to be laid before each House of Parliament and send to the Government

of the State concerned.

So as per our Constitution the term Minorities are not defined but certain more

provisions are there to protect the reserved categories such as “SC’s/ST’s, OBC’s

etc.”

1.6 Reserved Classes

Now the question arises, who belongs to reserved classes? Answer to this is the people belongs

from SC i.e. Scheduled Castes, ST i.e. Scheduled Tribes, OBC i.e. Other Backward Classes, and

also Women in some sectors has the title of reserved class.

1.7 Constitutional and Legal Safeguards for SC/ST2

Constitution contains special provisions and safeguards for SC’s/ST’s. These safeguards are

usually protective form of discrimination for their Educational, Economic, Social, Political and

reservations benefits. Some of the Provisions are as follows:

9 2As per The Constitution of India

1. Article 341:- The President of India can specify the caste, races, or tribes which will be deemed to be Schedule Cast under the Indian Constitution for a particular State or Union

Territory. Similar powers are available.

2. Article 366 (24):- This article defines “ Schedule Castes” to mean such castes, races, tribes or parts of groups which are deemed under Article 341 to be Schedule caste s for

the Purpose of the Constitution.

3. Article 341 (2):- Parliament can include or exclude any caste, race, or tribe from the list of Schedule Caste specified.

Safeguards available to Schedule Caste can be grouped as social safeguards, economic,

educational, political, and cultural and service safeguards.

I. Social Safeguards: - Articles 17, Article 23, Article 24, Article 25(2) (b) of the Constitution provides several social safeguards to SC’s/ST’s.

a. Article 17:- It abolish “Untouchability in India “.

The Civil Right Act, 1955 and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989) abolish

untouchability.

b. Article 23:- It prohibits traffic in human beings and other similar forms of force labour. Though the Article does not expressly refers to SC, majority of the bonding labours come from SC and this Article have special importance for them.

The bonded labour system (Abolition Act, 1976) provides for identification and

rehabilitation of bonded labours

c. Article 24:- It provides children below the age of 14 should not been employed in any factory or engaged in any Hazardous employment. Though I does not

mention expressly SC’s, majority of child labour belongs to SC’s.

d. Article 25(2) (b):- It provides public that Hindu religious institutions should be open for all classes and sections of Hindus. The term Hindu includes persons

professing Sikhs, Jains and Buddhist religion.

II. Economic Safeguards: - Article 23, Article 24, Article 46 provides Economic Safeguards for SC’s/ST’s.

10

a. Article 46:- It provides that State will promote the Educational and Economic Sectors of weaker sections of the society, particularly for SC’s/ST’s. State should

protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

III. Educational and Cultural Safeguards: - Article 15(4), mandates states to make special provision for advancement for socially and educationally Backward Class of

citizen’s and for SC’s/ST’s. Under this provision states can reserves seats for SC/ST

in educational institutions.

IV. Political Safeguards: - The Constitution reserves seat for SC/ST in local bodies of States and Union Territories, Legislative Assembly of the State and in Parliament.

Some of the Article which provides reservations are as follows:-

a. Article 343(D):- Seats are reserved for SC’s/ST’s in every Panchayat. 1/3 of the total seats reserved should be filled by women belonging to SC’s/ST’s.

b. Article 243(T):- Seats are reserved for SC’s/ST’s in every municipalities. 1/3 of the total seats should be filled by women belonging to SC’s/ST’s.

c. Article 330:- Seats are reserved for SC’s/ST’s in the House of People.

d. Article 332:- Provides for reservation of seats for SC/ST in the Legislative Assembly of states.

e. Article 334:- It provide the reservation of seats for the SC/ST in the House of the people and in the Legislative Assembly of the States shall Cases after 60 years

from the date of commencement of the constitution.

V. Service Safeguards: - They are provided under Article 16(4), Article 16(4) (a) and Article 335.

a. Article 16(4):- It provides that States can have reservation in appointment in the Backward Class of Citizen which is not adequately represented in State Service.

b. Article 16(4) (a):- It provides reservation in promotion.

c. Article 335:- It directs the State to consider claim of SC/ST by making appointments.

11

1.8 Prevention of Atrocities Act, 19893

Under the Indian Constitution all citizens are to be treated equally, and any discrimination

amongst citizens is prohibited. The ST/SC are a group of “Historically Disadvantaged people”

and hence the law provides special protection for them. The SC/ST Act, 1989 has been enacted

to fulfil three objectives as:

1. Firstly, it punishes crime against people belonging to SC’s/ST’s.

2. Secondly, it gives special protection and rights to victims.

3. Thirdly, it setups courts for fast completion of cases.

The Act curves two types of crimes. Some crimes under the IPC are given enhanced punishment

under this law. Also cruel and degrading crimes occurring against SC/ST communities such as

forcing them to do act against their wishes (eating cow dung, Manual scavenging) or their social

Boycott. The Act list around twenty of such offences. The special protection is given because the

accused person committing the crime as the victim belong to a SC/ST. Some of the other

offences penalized under the Act include shaving or cleaning of head or moustaches or doing any

other act which degrade the dignity of any member of SC/ST, garlanding with slippers, not

giving access of irrigation facilities or forest right, commenting on SC/ST, women to be

Devdasis, preventing SC/ST candidates from contesting election, forcing any member of SC/ST

to leave his village of home, defying object sacred to SC/ST and possessing any comments of

Sexual Nature against members of ST/SC. An amendment bill was introduced in the year 2014

for amending the 1989 Act. The 2014 Bill adds new category of actions to be treated as offences.

Wrongly occupying the land of SC/ST is an offence under the Act.

The Bill introduced An Expensive definition of “wrongful”.

The Act provides that a none-SC/ST public servant who neglects his duties relating to SC/ST

will be punished by imprisonment for a term of 6 months or more. The 2014 Amendment Bill

specifies Three Duties for a non-SC/ST public servant:

i. Registering a complaint or F.I.R.

12 3Meaning and Explanation of the “Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989”. And also why it is “Required”.

ii. Reading out the information given orally before taking Signature complainant.

iii. Giving a copy of the complaint or F.I.R to the complainant.

A new chapter on the rights of victims and witnesses has been added. It is the duty if the state to

make arrangement for protection of victims, their defendants and witnesses. The Act establishes

courts for Trial of Offences under the 1989 Act. The court has authority to conceal the name of

witnesses. In case of harassment of any victim, informer or witnesses such complaints has to be

trailed separately from the main case and concluded within 2 months.

1.9 Conclusion

Our Constitution and Law provides different kinds of Authorities to protect the minorities but in

some parts of our Country discrimination and offences against minorities still exists. However it

all depends upon our Executive and Legislative System to ensure equal rights and protection to

the minorities. And it is their duty to approach to the Judiciary whenever it is required to

interpret the law. But we all people have to change our mind-sets to respect minorities also and

give them equality. I have seen many people who gives water to the house waste picker, the glass

which is used for that purpose is not touched by any of the member who has given him water.

I India, we can see minorities and the reserved classes are the most talked about topic in Politics.

As we can see there are many matters, recently we have two most talked about topic. One is

reservation to Lingayats and second is the change in the Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.

Change in the prevention of Atrocities Act by the Supreme Court has stirred whole India.

Because it is the matters related to SC/ST. Most of the dalits are against this change in the act. As

a bench of Justices UU Lalit and AK Goel also stated that the Atrocities Act – as the law is

commonly known – was being used to blackmail innocent citizens and public servants, and that

it should not be used to “perpetuate casteism. So this judgment got politicised because it effects

the vote banks of BJP. Also, recently in Karnataka the congress “ruling party there” at the time of

elections declared as the new religious minority based on religion. For what. Only for the increase in votes. Indian politics has become such an opportunistic thing that any loop hole

found in any corner of Country every politician try to go through it and get a chance to make

their opponents low.

13

As we see Supreme Court Judgment is somehow good as there are some cases where there is the

occurrence of this kind of things happens. But I don’t think it is required to give reservation to

Lingayat Society.

14

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