The claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State:
Provided that nothing in this article shall prevent in making of any provision in favour of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes for relaxation in qualifying marks in any examination or lowering the standards of evaluation, for reservation in matters of promotion to any class or classes of services or posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.
Draft Article 296, Draft Constitution 1948
Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding article the claims of all minority communities shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State for the time being specified in Part I of the First Schedule.
Draft Article 296 (Article 335 of Constitution of India 1950) was taken up for discussion on 26 August 1949 and 14 October 1949. It states that the Union, States or any government entity will consider the representation of minorities as a factor when they make appointment to posts or services, subject to two conditions: first, that efficiency of administration is maintained and second, the provisions of Draft Article 297 are not violated.
The Assembly first took up this Draft Article on 24 August 1948 for debate. The Drafting Committee Chairman wanted to amend this Draft Article to state that only the claims of SC and ST communities should be considered in appointments. Two minority community Members argued that minorities were not consulted regarding this proposed change. They wanted to postpone the debate. The Assembly President agreed and emphasized that ‘in matters relating to minorities we have always proceeded with their consent’ and proceeded to set a later date for the debate.
On 14 October 1948 Ambedkar moved the same amendment formally. A Member claimed that proposal contradicted a previous decision of the Constituent Assembly and the Advisory Committee’s recommendations. He further added that no justification was provided for the change.
This Member proposed an amendment of his own that gave the State the power to extend the Draft Article’s benefits to any minority community that it felt was not adequately represented in government. Another Member wanted to bring ‘other castes who are educationally and socially backward' under the ambit of this provision.
A Member proposed to replace the Chairman’s amendment to state that only efficiency should be considered in appointments to public services. However, Parliament would be empowered to list special considerations that the President may take into account to ensure representation of the SC/ST communities.
The Assembly rejected the above proposals and accepted only the Drafting Committee Chairman’s amendment.
The Assembly adopted the amended Draft Article on 14 October 1949.
Article 335 was amended in 2000 to permit laws that reduce the requirements or relax qualifications for members of SC/ST communities in appointments to public services.