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Research Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences
Year : 2017, Volume : 8, Issue : 2
First page : ( 164) Last page : ( 171)
Print ISSN : 0975-6795. Online ISSN : 2321-5828.
Article DOI : 10.5958/2321-5828.2017.00023.7

A rights based approach to affirmative action policies

Sharma Bhavna

Centre for the Study of Discrimination and Exclusion, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Corresponding Author: Bhavna Sharma Ph. D. Scholar, Centre for the Study of Discrimination and Exclusion, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Online published on 22 September, 2017.


In this article the main aspect of discussion is “how the rights of minorities are intertwined with the justification of affirmative action and if affirmative action itself is seen as a right which the minorities should possess, what are the inherent implications. In this article the role of importance of rights for the minorities is evaluated from the prospective of interest and choice theories. These two theories point out how the minorities are crippled from their interests and their choices, how both the factors get overlooked which amount to their remaining backward. Seen in this context, the need to have affirmative action is to deepen the welfare of the deprived, but the overall tendency, it will be rated, has largely been to overlook the normative need of the policies, and how the neglect causes eventually become a breeding ground of greed. Different sections of people are looking at it from a consumerist perspective and a race to the finish by the beneficiaries has already begun. These policies have taken the shape of rights to be asserted, and since rights bestow privileges, we need to be careful in advancing the right justifications. This aspect has its inherent drawbacks, and it requires an analytical approach. We need to see the affirmative action as a matter of policy and not merely as a right, there is a need to devise a middle path where both the tag of policy and right can be seen in a sense that it does not defeat the purpose with which these policies were initiated, i.e. for the welfare of the minorities. There is a need for a new moral culture to be cultivated, where every policy enacted does not eventually take the form of solely as right and thus creates ripples in the society, hence a need for balancing the conflict between a right and policy is essential. This article will emphasise on what is the normative aspect of being a rights bearer. Further trying to approach affirmative action policies from the rights based approach and what are the implications involved in perceiving affirmative action itself as a right.



Rights, Rights approach, Interest theory, Choice theory, Normative enquiry.


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