Government sticks to 69 per cent reservation after Cabinet meeting

The State government has decided not to exclude “creamy layer” among backward classes from the ambit of 69 per cent reservation in the State.

According to the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes Commission's report, which was submitted by Justice M.S. Janarthanam, due reliance had been placed upon the nine-member Bench judgment of the Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney case. The dictum laid down by the court regarding the issue is that while applying the exclusion of creamy layer to the BCs, none from the BCs should be deprived of reservation benefits, a government order issued on Monday said.

“Though the Tamil Nadu Act 45 of 1994 had been in existence for well over 17 years, the Lakshman Rekha line – as pointed out by the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes Commission in its report submitted to the government on July 8, 2011 – has not been crossed, warranting the application of ‘creamy layer' exclusion,” the order stated, citing the BC Commission's report.

The government's decision was taken at Monday's meeting of the Cabinet, which, according to the order issued by the Backward Classes, Most Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare Department, had a thorough discussion on the report.

The government also decided to stick to the quantum of reservation – 69 per cent – as provided in the Tamil Nadu Act 45 of 1994. According to the law, 30 per cent has been earmarked for BCs, 20 per cent for MBCs, 18 per cent for Scheduled Castes and one per cent for Scheduled Tribes.

The government's decisions follow two orders of the Supreme Court given in July 2010 and January 2011, while disposing of writ petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the 1994 Act. Keeping the challenge to the validity of the law open, the court gave certain directions to the government.

The BC Commission, in the report, considered “in an elaborate fashion” the issue – “Reservation under the Tamil Nadu Act 45 of 1994 – existence of quantifiable data – justifiability or otherwise thereof.” It undertook a “thorough analysis” of the quantifiable data in the shape of the Report of the Ambasankar Commission of 1985. The Ambasankar Commission had fixed the socially and educationally BC population at 67 per cent from among the total population of the State of five crore. The statistical data gathered by the Commission were more or less equal to the statistical data collected through the 1981 Census. While fixing the quantum for SCs/STs, the data, as contained in the 1991 Census, were taken into consideration.

“Therefore, there cannot at all be any doubt regards the fixity of reservation of 50 per cent to Backward Classes, 18 per cent to Scheduled Castes and one per cent to Scheduled Tribes,” the order added.