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Supreme Court strikes down 10.5% internal quota for Vanniyars, a backward community in TN

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Chennai: The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Madras High Court order to quash the state government order providing 10.5% internal reservation to Vanniyars, a Most Backward Community in Tamil Nadu. The SC also declared to strike down Vanniyar Reservation Act 2021 and said that the act was “unconstitutional”.

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On Thursday, the petition by Tamil Nadu government and political party PMK seeking to quash Madras High Court order on November 1, 2021 revoking 10.5% internal reservation to Vanniyar came up for hearing before the bench of Justices Nageswara Rao and Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai.

The petitioners submitted Madras High Court order that said the decision to quash the order was erroneous in law and the state was empowered to provide quota in order to bring a community to the mainstream.

The Supreme Court upheld a Madras High Court order on November 1 setting aside the quota handed by the AIADMK-led government that was in power in Tamil Nadu at the time.

A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai upheld the Madras High Court order which had quashed the reservation.

“We are of the opinion that there is no substantial basis for classifying Vanniakula Kshatriyas into one group to be treated differently from the remaining 115 communities within the MBC groups and, therefore, the 2021 Act is in violation of Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution. Therefore, we uphold the decision of the high court,” the bench said.

In February last year, the then AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government provided Vanniyar community with internal reservation of 10,5% under the existing 20% reservation to MBC. However, the reservation was challenged in Madras HC. Following this, Madras HC quashed the reservation in November 2021.

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Vanniyars are among the largest backward communities in Tamil Nadu, with significant political influence. They have long campaigned for quota and because of their clout, they became the only community to be given a 10.5% quota within the MBC (Most Backward Class) quota if 20 per cent. More than 100 other communities were to share the rest of the quota.

Tamil Nadu has 69 per cent reservation, which includes 30 per cent for Backward Castes, 20 per cent for Most Backward Castes, 18 per cent for Scheduled Caste and 1 per cent for the Scheduled Tribes.

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