Reservation has always been a contentious issue in the national political discourse for its inherent discriminatory, albeit positive, nature. It's a subject that leaves even the most apparently neutral person in taking a favourable position. Despite a forward-looking vision of our constitution makers to create an undivided and equitable society, the issue of merit and positive discrimination, in favour of those standing at a differential status, continue to be at loggerheads, thus keeping the issue alive ad nauseum. This paper attempts to assess the efficacy of the extant Indian system of reservation vis-a-vis the affirmative action policy of the United States.
Needless to say that the United States is chosen for comparison due to parallels that both the nations enjoy in their national policies qua affirmative action. In both countries, affirmative action is provided as compensation for past injustices. However, their approach towards the policy is different in as much as where the US has adopted an individualistic approach, India has preferred a class-based approach in their policy of affirmative action. Notably, with the introduction of Economic Backward class reservation, the Indian policy is tilting towards an individualistic approach. The article applauds the state's policy. An individualist approach, the paper contends, can help India's Constitution framers achieve their goal of creating a classless society.
Despite some similarities, there remains a significant gap in the administration and implementation of affirmative action in both democratic states. This paper seeks to understand the affirmative action policy in the US and India, makes an attempt to evaluate their systems, and proposes changes that are required on dire premises.