CM Stalin says Tamil Nadu to consult with legal experts to uphold Vanniyar quota

The Supreme Court had earlier struck down the 10.5% reservation provided for Vanniyar community, upholding a Madras High Court order.
TN Chief Minister MK Stalin
TN Chief Minister MK Stalin
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The Tamil Nadu government will consult legal experts to uphold the 10.5% reservation for Vanniyars, a Most Backward Community, Chief Minister MK Stalin told the Assembly on Thursday, April 7. The Supreme Court, on March 31, had struck down the 10.5% reservation provided to the Vanniyar community saying that there was no substantial basis for treating them differently. CM Stalin’s announcement came just as the Tamil Nadu government secured a 7.5% quota for students of state-run schools to gain admission in professional courses.

Refusing to be drawn into an argument that the law to provide 10.5% reservation for Vanniyars is "temporary," he said, "This is an issue concerning the state's social justice and special reservation. As far as the quota for Vanniyars is concerned, the government will consult legal experts and surely uphold social justice." The CM was responding to a special call attention motion brought by AIADMK, the Vanniyar-dominated Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK).

He pointed out that the Supreme Court had observed that the state legislature and government have powers to enact laws on (internal) reservation, and accused the previous AIADMK regime of hurriedly enacting the reservation legislation. Stalin further claimed that though the recommendation was made in 2012, the then AIADMK government had enacted the law only in 2021 and that too "half-an-hour before the election commission's model code of conduct came into force" for the April Assembly election.

He pointed out that the apex court struck down the reservation saying there was no substantial basis to treat Vanniyars differently. The court had upheld the Madras High Court order quashing the reservation.

“Though the 2021 Act was brought by the AIADMK, the government engaged senior counsels Rakesh Dwivedi, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Mukul Rohatgi and P Wilson to effectively argue the case since it was the DMK that had ensured 20% reservation for MBCs. But both the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court struck down the reservation as the AIADMK government brought the legislation in haste," Stalin alleged.

The PMK and others moved the Supreme Court challenging the November 1, 2021 judgment of the Madras High Court quashing the quota for Vanniyars.

Later, speaking to reporters outside the Assembly House, Leader of the Opposition AIADMK Edappadi K Palaniswami claimed that the CM wrongly accused his regime of enacting the 2021 act hastily. But in reality, shortly after the enactment, elections were announced and there was a regime change.

"The DMK government had failed to extend the term of Justice Kulasekharan Commission to collect quantifiable data on castes, communities and tribes. Also, the state government did not engage senior counsel to argue the case, or provide the report of the Backward Class Commission on internal reservation headed by JA Ambasankar," Palaniswami claimed.

EPS asserted that since the days of party founder and former Chief Minister MG Ramachandran, the AIADMK has been following the policy of adequate representation for all sections. "Accordingly we enacted laws to provide 10.5% reservation for Vanniyars," he said.

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