Supreme Court strikes down 10.5% held for the Vanniyars in TamilNadu

Supreme Court declares hearing on the petitions challenging Madras High Court’s hearing regarding the Vanniyar reservation of 10.5%. (Source: NDTV)
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Aditi Shekar

Reservation of 10.5 % held for the Vanniyars, a Most Backward Community (MBC)  in Tamil Nadu was struck down by the Supreme Court on March 30. The quota worked prominently in the admission process of educational institutions and government jobs. 

The bench was led by Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai who upheld the Madras Court’s decision to declare the “Vanniyar Reservation Act 2021” unconstitutional. The quota was introduced by the AIADMK government in February of 2021. The bench stated that the state government at the time failed to provide relevant data required to classify Vanniyars as a separate group amongst the MBCs. This renders the act a violation of Articles 14,15 and 16 of the constitution of India. 

According to the SC, states have the right to provide extraordinary reservations. It has, however, identified insufficient data. The AIADMK administration acted hurriedly, according to Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister Durai Murugan.

The supreme court stated that caste can be a reason but not the sole basis on which reservation should be provided. The socio-educational status of the vanniyars was not accounted for in the data provided by the then AIADMK government. 

The court stated that it is a violation of Articles 14, 15, and 16 (Right to equality, prohibition of discrimination based on religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth; Equality of opportunity in public employment. The court has also dismissed petitions challenging the Madras High Court’s decision.

The argument presented by the petitioners was that the state governments had the right to provide quotas to bring a community to hold importance. Internal reservation makes Vanniyars a separate group providing them with the quota in the total of 20 per cent reservation held by the MBCs. 

The Supreme Court ruled that the state government committed a mistake by accepting the chairman of the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes Commission’s recommendations, based on the Janarthanam Commission Report, which used inadequate data. 

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