Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Supreme Court notice to Tamil Nadu against special quota to Vanniya Kula Kshatriyas, others

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The Supreme Court issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government while hearing a petition challenging the Tamil Nadu Special Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and in appointments under the State within Reservation for Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities Act, 2021.

The Division Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat passed this order while hearing two petitions filed by S. Sandeep Kumar and  J. Muthukumar. The petition said that the impugned Act is unconstitutional and violative of Article 340 of the Constitution of India on the ground that reservation is permissible only to classes and not to a particular caste.

“…impugned Act has been rushed through in patent violation of all the legislative norms, Election Model Code of Conduct, Due process of law and in violation of constitutional rights of crores of citizens in Tamil Nadu just to win electoral gains from a particular caste,” the Petition said.

It is contended that the Act was passed when the Model Code of Conduct was in play only to meet the demand of Vanniya Kula Kshatriyas without the presence of any quantifiable data. Due to this, a Special Commission was appointed for the collection of quantifiable data on caste, communities, and tribes in Tamil Nadu with Justice A. Kulasekaran (Retd.) as the Chairman.

It is further submitted that the Committee is yet to submit any report and in undue haste, the Respondents announced that the Vanniya Kula Kshatriyas would be given 10.5% reservation.

Sriram P., counsel for the petitioner, stated that the petitioner, who is otherwise eligible to utilize 20%, has had her quota reduced to 10.5%, and the same is “not only arbitrary, illegal, discriminatory and in fragrant violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, but also it has failed to follow the procedure enunciated under the law…”.

The Plea states that the impugned Act is contrary to the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of seats in Educational Institutions and of appointments or posts in Services under the State) Act, 1993, read with Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Private Educational Institutions) Act, 2006.

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The Court directed Senior Advocate S. Nagamuthu, appearing for the petitioner, to approach the Madras High Court.

“Already petitions are pending before the High Court. Please go there. Why don’t you let them decide so that we have the benefit of the judgment? If we issue notice and keep it pending, we will anyway have the judgment of the High Court by then,” the Court said. Nagamuthu requested the Court to issue notice and tag the plea as the same had been done in two other petitions pertaining to the matter.

Therefore, the Court issued notice and tagged the plea with pending matters. The Court stated that the interpretation of 102nd Amendment involved a substantial question of law, and proceeded to refer the issue to a larger Bench. It is submitted that the grievance in the instant plea is in pari materia with the previous order of the Supreme Court.

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