The Supreme Court Thursday upheld the Madras High Court judgement striking down the law brought in Tamil Nadu last year providing 10.5 per cent reservation to Vanniyars, within the Most Backward Classes (MBC) community, in government jobs and admissions to educational institutions.
The top court said it was done solely on the basis of numbers without adequate data to show the relative backwardness of the Vanniyar community.
A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai upheld the Madras High Court order which had quashed the reservation.
“We are of the opinion that there is no substantial basis for classifying Vanniakula Kshatriyas into one group to be treated differently from the remaining 115 communities within the MBC groups and, therefore, the 2021 Act is in violation of Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution. Therefore, we uphold the decision of the high court,” the bench said.
In July 2021, the top court refused to stay the law while allowing the hearing before the high court. The high court in November ruled the 10.5% quota law passed during the previous All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)’s rule days before elections were announced was illegal because of a lack of quantifiable data to measure the “extreme backwardness” of the Vanniyars.
The state government argued MBCs were identified in Tamil Nadu as early as 1957 as equivalent to scheduled castes but without the factor of untouchability.
The Tamil Nadu Backward Classes Commission recommended an internal quota for Vanniyars up to 10.5% within the 20% quota in 2012. It gave the go-ahead for implementing the quota within the MBC quota in 2021. Representatives of MBCs and de-notified communities filed petitions in the Madras high court against it.
(With inputs from agencies)