Tamil Nadu?s 10.5% Vanniyar Quota Cancelled by Supreme Court

Tamil Nadu’s 10.5% Vanniyar Quota Cancelled by Supreme Court

Observations by Supreme Court:
• The Supreme Court held that 10.5% internal reservation to Vanniyakula Kshatriya community violates the fundamental rights of equality, non-discrimination and equal opportunity of 115 other Most Backward Communities (MBCs) and De-Notified Communities (DNCs) in Tamil Nadu.
• The allotment of 10.5% reservation to a single community from within the total Most Backward Classes (MBC) quota of 20% in the State, leaving only 9.5% to 115 other communities in the MBC category, was done without ‘substantial basis’.
• The court said there was no assessment or analysis done prior to the 2021 Act to back the claim that the Vanniyakula Kshatriyas were relatively more backward than the other MBCs and DNCs.
• The court underscored that while caste can be the starting point for internal reservation, it is incumbent on the State government to justify the reasonableness of the decision.
• Though the court held the 2021 Act and its percentages of reservation unconstitutional, it upheld the legislative competence of the State to enact a law sub-classifying and apportioning percentages within identified backward classes.

About Vanniyakula Kshatriya Reservation:
• Reservation in Tamil Nadu comprises 69% under a 1994 Act protected under the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.
• The Vanniyakula Kshatriya reservation was provided under the State within the reservation for the Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities Act, 2021.
• The second Tamil Nadu Backward Commission in 1983, held that the population of Vanniyakula Kshatriyas was found to be 13.01% of the State’s total population.

What is Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution?
• It was added by the First amendment to the Indian Constitution.
• It was added in 1951 to protect land reforms laws from being challenged in the courts on the grounds of violation of Fundamental rights.
• It was created by inserting Article 31B
• While most of the laws protected under the Schedule concern agriculture/land issues, the list includes other subjects too.
• The Article 31Bexcludes judicial review, the Supreme court has said in the past that laws under ninth schedule would be open to scrutiny if they violated Fundamental Rights or the basic structure of the constitution. 

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