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This Seat is Reserved

This Seat is Reserved

Caste, Quotas and the Constitution of India

Abhinav Chandrachud
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By examining the history and evolution of the equality provisions in the Constitution of India, This Seat is Reserved seeks to shed light on the emotionally charged, decades-old debate concerning caste-based reservations in India. Its objective is to introduce the reader to the law and history of quotas in the country.

In this book Abhinav traces how groups eligible for reservations were identified and defined: how the terms ‘depressed classes’ and ‘backward classes’ were used in British India and how they evolved into the constitutional concepts of ‘Scheduled Castes’ (SC), ‘Scheduled Tribes’ (ST), and ‘Other Backward Classes’ (OBC). It looks at how the Supreme Court invented tests to impose limits on quotas in the country – the rule that no more than 50% of the available seats or positions can be reserved, the principle that the ‘creamy layer’ must not receive the benefit of quotas, the requirement that governments must have “quantifiable data” before providing certain kinds of reservations. It examines the intellectual debates that have taken place on these questions over the course of India’s history in the Constituent Assembly, the Supreme Court and Parliament. For instance: are reservations an exception to the principle of equality of opportunity? Do quotas in government service, especially in promotions, undermine efficiency? Can ‘merit’ really be defined neutrally and do marks in board exams or entrance exams really demonstrate a student’s intelligence?

Thought-provoking, argumentative and comprehensive, this book will interest history enthusiasts and general readers.

Imprint: India Viking

Published: Sep/2022

ISBN: 9780670094752

Length : 272 Pages

MRP : ₹599.00

This Seat is Reserved

Caste, Quotas and the Constitution of India

Abhinav Chandrachud

By examining the history and evolution of the equality provisions in the Constitution of India, This Seat is Reserved seeks to shed light on the emotionally charged, decades-old debate concerning caste-based reservations in India. Its objective is to introduce the reader to the law and history of quotas in the country.

In this book Abhinav traces how groups eligible for reservations were identified and defined: how the terms ‘depressed classes’ and ‘backward classes’ were used in British India and how they evolved into the constitutional concepts of ‘Scheduled Castes’ (SC), ‘Scheduled Tribes’ (ST), and ‘Other Backward Classes’ (OBC). It looks at how the Supreme Court invented tests to impose limits on quotas in the country – the rule that no more than 50% of the available seats or positions can be reserved, the principle that the ‘creamy layer’ must not receive the benefit of quotas, the requirement that governments must have “quantifiable data” before providing certain kinds of reservations. It examines the intellectual debates that have taken place on these questions over the course of India’s history in the Constituent Assembly, the Supreme Court and Parliament. For instance: are reservations an exception to the principle of equality of opportunity? Do quotas in government service, especially in promotions, undermine efficiency? Can ‘merit’ really be defined neutrally and do marks in board exams or entrance exams really demonstrate a student’s intelligence?

Thought-provoking, argumentative and comprehensive, this book will interest history enthusiasts and general readers.

Select Preferred Format

Abhinav Chandrachud

Abhinav Chandrachud is an advocate who practises at the Bombay High Court. He graduated from the LL.M. program at Harvard Law School where he was a Dana Scholar, and from the JSM and JSD programs at Stanford Law School where he was a Franklin Family Scholar. He has worked as an associate attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a global law firm. He is the author of Republic of Rhetoric: Free Speech and the Constitution of India (2017) and Supreme Whispers: Conversations with Judges of the Supreme Court of India 1980-1989 (2018). He has also written for several leading newspapers in India including The Hindu, Indian Express and Times of India, and taught at Cornell Law School and NALSAR University of Law.

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