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date: 21 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the constitutional provisions, cases, legislation, and parliamentary debates on reservations in India. It begins with a discussion of three main beneficiary groups of reservation policy recognised by the Indian Constitution: Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and a third group called ‘Other’ Backward Classes (OBCs). In particular, it considers the legal construction of these categories and some other beneficiary groups recognised in the Constitution, such as women, Muslims, and other religious groups. It also highlights the confusion about the social location of OBCs and focuses on four constitutional nuances regarding OBCs. Finally, it examines the extension of reservations in public education, public employment, private sector, and Central and State legislatures; how reservations work in practice; and the politics that surrounds them.

Keywords: affirmative action, India, Indian Constitution, legislation, Other Backward Classes (OBCs), public education, reservation policy, reservations, Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs)

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