Chennai: Tamil Nadu will not implement the 10% reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among the Open Competition (OC) category in higher education and government jobs. Instead, the ruling DMK and its alliance parties will file a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging its recent 3:2 verdict upholding the EWS quota.
“The Tamil Nadu Government will continue to implement only the 69% quota (for SCs, STs, MBCs, and BCs). “It will not implement the 10% EWS quota,” Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy told journalists in Chennai shortly after Chief Minister and DMK President M K Stalin chaired a multiparty meeting on the issue.
The meeting was boycotted by the AIADMK, which refused to implement the EWS quota while in power, and the BJP.
Congress backed a resolution rejecting SC’s decision
Interestingly, despite its support for the EWS quota, Congress backed a resolution rejecting the Supreme Court’s decision and the decision to file a review petition.
Congress Legislature Party leader Selvaperunthagai said this was in line with the All India Congress Committee’s stance that it will study the 3:2 verdict of the Supreme Court in detail.
The resolution said the EWS quota ran contrary to the social justice principle prescribed in the Constitution and various past judgments of the Supreme Court. It is also discriminatory against the poor (belonging to the non-OC category).
It would destroy the principle of social justice
At the meeting, Stalin argued that if the constitutional amendment in favour of the EWS quota was accepted, it would destroy the principle of social justice.
“They would remove the reference to being “socially and educationally backward” and add “economically” to everything. “That is why we strongly opposed the amendment in Parliament and voted against it,” he said.
The DMK since Karunanidhi’s time has also been strongly opposed to the OBC “creamy layer” concept. In fact, Karunanidhi dubbed it “Kirumi Layer” (virus or germs in Tamil).
Stalin pointed out at the meeting that the Supreme Court itself has previously held that reservation is not a poverty alleviation scheme, and in 1992, a nine-member Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court ruled that reservation based on economic considerations was invalid.
He stated that reservations should only be granted to people who are “socially and educationally backward. Those who had said that because of (communal) reservation skills and merit have been lost are now backing the EWS quota,” he pointed out, adding, “It is against social justice and constitutional provisions.”
The DMK leader further wondered: “They are saying that those earning less than 8 lakh annually can benefit from the EWS Quota.” Are those earning $66,660 a month poor? Are those earning 2,222 per day poor? The BJP government at the centre says those earning less than 2.5 lakh do not need to pay income tax. Then how could those earning 8 lakh be classified as poor?
According to him, this is not a reservation for the poor in the “forward class,” but a reservation for the “forward caste.”