Supreme Court cancels Tamil Nadu’s 10.5% Vanniyar quota

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 The Supreme Court today cancelled Tamil Nadu’s Vanniyar community’s quota in jobs and education after calling it “unconstitutional” and a violation of the right to equality.

The Vanniyar community had been allotted a 10.5 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions as per a law enacted in 2021, called the “Vanniyar Reservation Act 2021.” The same has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court upheld a Madras High Court order dated November 1 setting aside the quota which was initially handed by the AIADMK-led government that had been in power in Tamil Nadu back then.

On a series of petitions challenging the Madras High Court ruling, the Supreme Court said that the Act “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 AIADMK government had originally passed the Vanniyar Reservation Act in February 2021, just before the model code of conduct came into effect for the state elections in April. The DMK, which came to power in the elections, implemented the quota.

Petitioners have argued that the High Court decision was erroneous in law. The Supreme Court has also noted that the state government has failed to provide data that Vanniyars had to be treated as a separate group within the backward castes.

Vanniyars are among the largest backward communities in Tamil Nadu having significant political influence. 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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