TN quota law is ultra vires Constitution
- April 1, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
TN quota law is ultra vires Constitution
Context: The Supreme Court confirmed that the grant of 10.5 per cent internal reservation to Vanniyakula Kshatriya community violates the fundamental rights of equality, non-discrimination and equal opportunity for 115 other most backward communities (MBCs) and de-notified communities (DNCs) in Tamil Nadu.
- The Special Reservation Act of 2021, which was enacted by the AIADMK government in consultation with Tamil Nadu Backward Classes Commission Chairperson Justice (retired) M. Thanikachalam, scooped 10.5 per cent of the total 20 per cent MBC quota for Vanniyakula Kshatriyas alone, citing their “extreme backwardness”
- Madras High Court has declared reservation law passed by the Tamil Nadu legislative Assembly as
- Tamil Nadu Government then has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, challenging the Madras HC order against internal reservation to Vanniyars in government jobs and higher education
- Caste can be the starting point for internal reservation, it is incumbent on the State government to justify the reasonableness of the decision (to provide quota to a particular community) and demonstrate that caste is not the sole basis”.
- A Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai held that the allotment of 10.5 per cent reservation to a single community from within the total MBC quota of 20 per cent in the State, leaving only 9.5 per cent to 115 other communities in the category, was without “substantial basis”.
- Population was made the sole basis for recommending internal reservation for Vanniyakula Kshatriya, which is directly in violation with the law laid down by this court
- Even as backward communities such as Thevars and Gounders are largely seen as Tamil Nadu’s socially and politically powerful communities, Vanniyars were one of the largest and most consolidated backward communities that had a consistency in retaining political representation from the 1940s and 1950s.
- Politically also more represented:
- In the political act of bargaining for community representation too, Vanniyars had been far ahead of other backward and Most Backward Communities (MBC) for decades, which includes their organised state-wide agitations in the mid-1980s demanding an exclusive 20 per cent reservation in the state and 20 per cent in central services.
SC Judgements on Reservation
- Indra Sawhney case 1992
- The Supreme Court’s Indra Sawhney vs Union of India(1992) has been hailed as a landmark judgment as it upheld reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). However, this judgment also held that reservations in appointments, under Article 16(4) of the constitution, don’t apply to promotions.
- The Supreme Court upheld the Mandal Commission’s 27 percent quota for backward classes, as well as the principle that the combined scheduled-caste, scheduled-tribe, and backward-class beneficiaries should not exceed 50 percent of India’s population. At the same time, the court also struck down the government notification reserving 10% government jobs for economically backward classes among the higher castes in 1992. In this case, the Supreme Court stated that;
- Backward Classes of the Citizens of in Article 16(4) can be identified on the basis of caste and not only on the economic basis.
- There should be NO reservation in the Promotions.
- Nagraj Case 2006
- According to it, the government cannot introduce a quota in promotion for its SC/ST employees unless they prove that the particular Dalit community is backward, inadequately represented and such a reservation in promotion would not affect the overall efficiency of public administration.
- The opinion of the government should also be based on quantifiable data.
- It was made clear that even if the state has compelling reasons, the state will have to see that its reservation provision does not lead to excessiveness so as to breach the ceiling limit of 50% or obliterate the creamy layer or extend the reservation indefinitely.
- In the 2006 judgment, the apex court had ruled that the government can provide reservations in promotions to SCs and STs provided it was justified through quantifiable data collected by the State on the inadequate representation of the two communities in various posts.