Contending that the Supreme Court had erroneously allowed the Tamil Nadu government to provide 69 per cent quota, exceeding the 50 per cent limit imposed in earlier judgments, a petition seeking review of this order was filed on Monday.
On July 13, the Supreme Court disposed of a writ petition filed by Voice Consumer Care Council in 1994 challenging the 69 per cent quota law by directing the State to reconsider the same in the light of the various judgments concerning reservation to other backward classes. The Supreme Court even permitted the State to increase the 50 per cent limit in case the quantification of data of OBCs in the State as determined by the State Backward Class Commission justified such an increase. Seeking review of this order, Voice said when the validity of the law was before the court, the case ought not to have been sent back to the authorities, viz to be decided by the Backward Classes Commission on such quantifiable data among other things.
To be heard in the judge's chamber, the review petition pointed out that an error apparent in the said order had occurred as neither in the judgment of ‘M. Nagaraj's case' nor in ‘Ashoka Thakur's case' any such data, much less quantifiable data as had been dealt with in the July 13 order, had been passed. In these two judgments, the Supreme Court had not said that it would be possible for the State governments to increase the quantum of reservation beyond 50 per cent.
The petitioner quoted a passage in the Nagaraj judgment, which said “..it is made clear that even if the State has compelling reasons the State will have to see that its reservation provisions do not lead to excessiveness so as to breach the ceiling limit of 50 per cent or obliterate the creamy layer or extended the reservation indefinitely.” In view of this categorical assertion, it was not open for the State to exceed the 50 per cent limit and therefore the July 13 order was fully erroneous. Further, as observed in the July 13 order, the State Backward Classes Commission had no power or authority to decide on the quantum of reservation, which was a constitutional issue and had to be adjudicated by the Supreme Court alone.
The petitioner also pointed out that in the Mandal case there was a specific direction to identify the creamy layer, but for the last 18 years Tamil Nadu had not identified the creamy layer and a writ petition filed in this regard was still pending in the Supreme Court.
Unless the July 13 order was reviewed and corrected there would be gross injustice regarding the reservation in the State which exceeded 50 per cent limit and only the Supreme Court had the power to decide the quantum of reservation.