Published: 03rd November 2021
What The FAQ: Why did the Madras HC quash 10.5% reservation for Vanniyars in Tamil Nadu?
The Vanniyars were one of the backward castes who have been well represented in the political arena since the 1940s. Their agitation for community representation is not new
The Madras High Court on November 1 said that the 10.5 per cent special internal reservation for Most Backward Castes (MBC) to the Vanniyars provided by the previous Tamil Nadu Government violates the Constitution and quashed the reservation. The MHC said that there was not enough data to allow the reservation and held both the AIADMK and DMK government responsible — while the AIADMK government set the ball rolling the latter implemented it.
What is the current reservation in Tamil Nadu?
At present, the breakup of reservation in the state stands at 69 per cent – 30 per cent for BCs (including Christians and Muslims), 20 per cent for MBCs, 18 per cent for SCs and 1 per cent for the ST community.
Who are the Vanniyars?
The Vanniyars were one of the castes who have been well represented in the political arena since the 1940s. Their agitation for community representation is not new — they were one of the first to place such demands through agitations across the state back in the 1980s. They wanted an exclusive 20 per cent reservation in the state and 20 per cent in central services. The Vanniyars have never been considered powerful with strong political standings.
Why is it being seen as a detrimental decision in Tamil Nadu?
Caste has been a deciding factor in Tamil Nadu politics and a decision to randomly attribute reservation to a community without a proper evaluation or a caste census can have a longstanding impact. “If 10.5 per cent reservation is given to the Vanniyar caste all over the state, it would prevent the other MBCs from getting admissions in the educational institutions and posts in the government employments,” said the MHC. “In other words, the candidates from Vanniyars would automatically get selected in the educational institutions or in the government employment without there being any competition. On the other hand, the candidates of other Most Backward Communities would find it difficult to get admission in the Educational Institutions and in the government employment for the reason that their reservation would be decreased from 20 per cent to 9.5 per cent,” the court order said.
Why did the AIADMK and DMK go for it?
The promise for reservation for Vanniyars came at the juncture of two elections — the assembly polls, when the AIADMK initiated it and the local body polls when the DMK took it up. While reportedly, the leaders internally knew this was set to fail, they went ahead with the implementation so that in the eyes of their voters they would be the ones who wanted to do something good but the court struck it down.