The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed the 10.5% internal reservation for the Vanniyar community while noting that the Vanniyar Reservation Act 2021 is unconstitutional and violates the right to equality.
The law has granted 10.55 reservations to the Vanniyar community out of the 20% quota available to the Most Backward Classes (MBC) and De-notified Communities (DNCs). The apex court cancelled the reservation while noting that caste could be starting point but cannot be the sole basis to decide backwardness and reservation cannot be granted on superficial grounds.
The top court upheld the Madras High Court order of November where it set aside the reservation granted by the AIADMK-led government.
Under Tamil Nadu law, the Vanniyar community was provided reservations for admission to educational institutions and appointment in government jobs. The bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice B.R. Gavai noted that the law is violative of Article 14, Article 15 and Article16 of the Indian Constitution.
“It is a violation of Article 14, 15, 16 (Right to equality; Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth; Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment,” the bench said.
The bench noted that the Tamil Nadu government had failed to provide data that Vanniyars had to be treated as a separate group within the backward castes.
We are of the opinion that there is no basis to treat Vanniyars as a separate group compared to other backward classes, the bench stated.
Tamil Nadu has 69 percent reservation. Out of which, 30 percent is for Backward Castes, 20 percent for Most Backward Castes, 18 per cent for Scheduled Caste and 1 per cent for the Scheduled Tribes.