Institute for Social and Economic Change
Working Paper: 257
Scheduled Castes, Legitimacy and Local Governance: Continuing Social Exclusion in Panchayats
People of the Scheduled Castes have a long history of being discriminated against, exploited, and placed at the bottom of caste society. The panchayati raj, after the enactment of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment, brought in measures to overcome these past indignities, and provided a quota within ordinary seats and among the office bearers of the panchayats. There is, however, strong resistance among the higher castes (just above that of the Scheduled Castes in many cases), about reservation of the post of panchayat president for Scheduled Caste people. This paper looks at some of the consequences of having a quota for the Scheduled Castes for the post of president in the grama panchayats of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, with the concept of legitimacy to consider the perceptions of the higher castes as well as the participation of the Scheduled Castes in panchayats.