Reservation Within quota

What is the News?

The Madras high court has declared Tamil Nadu legislation unconstitutional, which granted 10.5% internal reservation to the Vanniyar community within an existing 20% quota for the most backward classes (MBC) in the state.

Background: 

The Tamil Nadu Assembly had passed a special Act that divided the existing 20% quota for the ‘Most Backward Classes/Denotified Communities’ category into three parts. 

Among them, the largest share of 10.5% was specified as exclusive to the Vanniyar community and its various sub-castes. 

Why has the Madras HC then struck down the internal reservation for Vanniyar caste in Tamil Nadu?

The Act has been struck down due to following reasons:

Firstly, the Act had been passed by the State without any quantifiable data on population, socio-educational status, and representation of the backward classes in the services.

Secondly, the government acted hastily, as it had earlier appointed a commission under a retired High Court judge to compile quantifiable data on all castes so that the State could justify its 69% total reservation. But it did not wait for its report. 

Thirdly, the Act was unconstitutional, mainly on the ground that the Assembly had no legislative competence to pass the law on the date of the enactment. This was because the 102nd Amendment to the Constitution empowered the President to notify the backward classes list for each State was in force.

Note: Later, the Government of India brought the 105th Amendment to make it explicit that the States could make changes in the Backward class lists.

Fourthly, separate reservations for one caste amounted to discrimination against all the other castes in the same MBC category.

Source: This post is based on the article Reservation on quota published in “The Hindu” on 8th November 2021.

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