We all are aware of the term ‘discrimination’ and the meaning it denotes. While technically, the term refers to the prejudicial or unjust treatment of different categories of people based on their race, caste, sex, identity, etc., it has been in use for other references as well. One such a variant is the concept of ‘Reverse Discrimination’ which has been imbibed in the society in contrast with the most preferred form of discrimination. As Legal Dictionary puts it, ‘The concept rose to importance in the late 20th century where preferential legislation was required to reduce the rising tensions between the minority and the majority in the society such as the conflict between the whites and the blacks in America, the issue of untouchables in India, etc.’
Reverse Discrimination primarily refers to the situation where the members of the historically advantaged group or the majority are discriminated against based on their race, sex, caste, or other protected characteristics. Find Law asserts that ‘occasionally, the term also is used to negatively describe programs meant to advance or promote minorities and address inequality, such as affirmative action’. Reverse discrimination usually takes place in the employment or educational sector. It picks up and puts the underprivileged minority in advantage and drops the privileged majority at a disadvantage.
Some of the examples of this notion may include;
· Rejecting an applicant belonging to the majority category for admission in school in favor of a minority applicant.
· Hiring or promoting women solely based on their gender over equally or more qualified males.
· Making promotion decisions in favor of minority groups and against majority applicants despite their seniority or experience.
In India, the Constitution itself grants every citizen equality of status and opportunities, and social, economic and political justice through the Preamble. To be specific, it is the duty of the state (under Article 38 of the Indian constitution) to secure a social order for the promotion of the welfare of the people. In fact, it is our Fundamental right to be regarded as equal citizens under Article 14. However, under Article 16, the State may make special reservations for the backward class of citizens who are not adequately represented in the services. The idea for creating reservations for some backward classes had emerged so as to protect their interests and bridge the gap between ‘equals’ and ‘unequal’ and eliminate the longstanding discrimination against the minority groups. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), 1981 is one of the biggest endeavors in protecting the rights of women and promoting gender equality.