Madras HC verdict on Vanniyar quota puts focus on caste survey – The New Indian Express

Chennai News

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court’s quashing of the 10.5 per cent internal reservation for Vanniyars owing to a lack of quantifiable data to measure the “extreme backwardness” of the community has turned the spotlight back on the caste survey.

Justice Hari Paranthaman, a retired Madras High Court judge, told The New Indian Express the verdict indicated that a caste survey is needed. “Mere numerical data on the Vanniyar community will not suffice. The government should provide valid information to substantiate why Vanniyars need a separate reservation and how they are in a more disadvantageous position than the other communities in the MBC category,” Paranthaman says.

Hari Paranthaman is of the view that the recent High Court (HC) verdict is not “anti-reservation” in nature; it only pointed out that reservation was given without following due procedure. 

The previous AIADMK government had appointed a commission headed by retired judge A Kulasekaran to carry out the survey, but its term was not extended by the present DMK government after it ended in June.

Another retired HC judge, seeking anonymity, said that a caste survey is needed not only to protect the 10.5 per cent internal reservation but also the 69 per cent reservation. The State government should either revive the A Kulasekaran Commission or appoint another commission, the judge said.

Seconding this view, political analyst Tharasu Shyam said, “When the State government goes for an appeal, it has to explain to the Supreme Court (SC) the ‘change of circumstances’ to obtain a status quo on the 10.5 per cent reservation to Vanniyars. If the commission is revived or a new commission appointed, the government can show this as a reason for maintaining status quo to continue the 10.5 per cent reservation.”

Recently, a delegation of PMK leaders, including its president GK Mani and advocate K Balu, called on Chief Minister MK Stalin and urged him to take immediate steps to protect the 10.5 per cent internal reservation for Vanniayars. When contacted, Balu told The New Indian Express the chief minister had said steps were being taken to protect the quota.

Asked why the PMK didn’t raise its voice when the term of the Kulasekaran Commission was not extended, Balu said, “That panel was formed for the 69 per cent reservation, not for ensuring 10.5 per cent reservation. We have submitted this view before the HC.”

On whether PMK leaders demanded another commission to conduct the caste survey, Balu said, “Conducting a caste survey is the PMK’s basic demand. But a caste survey is not needed to provide 10.5 per cent reservation to Vanniyars. It can be given based on the Ambasankar Commission report and a report by former chairman of the Backward Classes Commission Justice MS Janardanam and other data.”

Meanwhile, PMK founder S Ramadoss said by quashing the 10.5 per cent reservation, the HC questioned the 69 per cent reservation as well. 

The seven questions raised by the HC were not new; such questions had already been deliberated and answered, he said. “These questions have been raised not for establishing social justice but to put an end to it in Tamil Nadu. He exhorted PMK cadre to get ready for a political battle for social justice. 

Sources said the Kulasekaran Commission had proposed a one-day pilot survey in parts of the State on February 27 and 28 and sought Rs 60 lakh from the previous AIADMK government to engage about 20,000 enumerators. When it was under consideration, the notification for Assembly elections was issued, and the government did not sanction that money. The DMK government, too, did not consider that.

‘Needed for 69 per cent reservation as well’

A retired HC judge said a caste survey is needed not only to protect the 10.5 per cent internal reservation but also the 69 per cent quota. The government should revive the A Kulasekaran Commission or appoint another panel, the judge stated

Source: https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2021/nov/08/madras-hc-verdict-on-vanniyar-quota-puts-focus-on-caste-survey-2380759.html