Article 46 of the Indian Constitution embodies a profound commitment to promote the welfare of the country’s marginalized communities. This pivotal provision directs the State to diligently safeguard the interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other weaker sections of society. The State actively fosters their educational, economic, and social advancement in order to build an inclusive and equitable nation.

What does Article 46 states ?

Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections

  • The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
Landmark case related to Article 46

Indira Sawhney v. Union of India (1992)

  • The Apex Court ruled in Indira Sawhney v. Union of India (1992) that the reservation limit for the backward classes is up to 50% of all seats and shall not exceed that. The Mandal case is the infamous name for this case.
  • The interesting thing about this case is that even though it was determined that 50% was the cap, in 2019, as per the 103rd Amendment to the DPSPs, the Honorable Supreme Court stated that up until this point, the only factors that would be considered to make reservations would be social and educational backwardness, but now, after the Amendment, the economically weaker sections of society will also be allowed to access these reservations, and thus the limit was pushed up to 60% of the total population.
  • The Supreme Court investigated the situation and looked at it from numerous angles. In accordance with Articles 15(4), 16(4), and 340 of the Indian Constitution, they examined the reservation system. According to the Supreme Court, the purpose of reserves is not to hold deserving students at a disadvantage. The goal is to increase equality in our society.
Controversies related to Article 46
  • Despite designing the reservation policy to ensure social justice for all citizens of this country, the general public strongly opposes it.
  • As policies remain unchanged over time, citizens feel frustrated and anguished because they are denied educational or vocational opportunities they would have received based on merit, but don’t due to reservation policies.
  • Many have attacked the reserve system, claiming that not only do these reservations exhibit bigotry, but they also serve as a source of solace for minorities. Many people now believe that minorities rely on these reservations rather than working harder for their merit. The entire objective of reservations was to create awareness of equality, but these rules have outlived their usefulness. Special benefits, increased protection, and so on for weaker segments of society go against the spirit of democracy.
  • When companies and educational institutions are obliged to make appointments based on caste rather than merit, they discredit the merit system established by learned people and undermine quality. Not only that, but this approach has fueled the emergence of caste politics in our political system.



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