All-party meet in Tamil Nadu rejects 10% EWS quota; to file review petition against SC verdict

The meeting was boycotted by the main opposition party AIADMK and its ally BJP
Last Updated 12 November 2022, 13:59 IST

Tamil Nadu Government Saturday announced that it will not implement the 10 per cent reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) even as a meeting of legislative parties, boycotted by AIADMK and BJP, “rejected” the 103rd Constitutional Amendment, saying it is “against the philosophy of social justice” and in contradiction with several judgments of the Supreme Court.

A government release said a resolution against the reservation for EWS was “passed” at the meeting attended by representatives from Congress, and Left parties, whose MPs voted in favour of the Bill in 2019, and other regional parties like VCK, and PMK. Congress floor leader in the Assembly, Selvaperunthagai, told the meeting that the TN unit opposes the EWS quota and will support the actions of the state government, despite the national leadership supporting the quota.

After the meeting, Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy said Tamil Nadu will not implement the 10 per cent EWS quota.

“As far as TN is concerned, we will continue implementing the 69 per cent quota and we will not be implementing the EWS reservation. The Supreme Court didn’t say states will have to implement EWS. We believe states can draft their own policies (with regard to reservation),” Ponmudy said.

Ponmudy added that the parties have also decided to file review petitions in the Supreme Court against the verdict. AIADMK and BJP boycotted the meeting saying they did not want to be a part of the “drama” enacted by the DMK government.

“We reject the 103rd Amendment to the Constitution of India which provides 10 per cent reservation to the poor among forward castes because it is contrary to the philosophy of social justice as enshrined in Indian Constitution, it is contradictory to the various judgements of the Supreme Court of India and divides, discriminates the poor in name of caste,” the resolution said.

In his opening remarks, Chief Minister M K Stalin tore into the BJP government on the EWS quota, saying it was in “complete contradiction” with the Constitution which defines social justice as socially and educationally backward. He said the concept of reservation based on economic status was rejected way back in the 1950s by the Indian Parliament and then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Law Minister B R Ambedkar.

“While moving the first amendment to the Constitution that was brought to uphold the communal GO of the Justice Party government providing reservation for oppressed classes, Nehru said it was necessitated due to happenings in Madras. This amendment paved the way for the well-being of Indians and served as the basis for social development in the last 75 years,” Stalin said.

Providing reservation based on the economic status of people is against the “principles of social justice” and the Constitution and is in complete contradiction with several judgments of the Supreme Court. “Don’t think that we are coming in the way of poor people among FCs getting help. We will not stop any scheme that helps the poor. We will not allow the true values of social justice to be distorted,” he said.

The Chief Minister also wanted to know can families whose monthly income Rs 66,660 avail the benefits of EWS reservation, while the Union Government collects income tax from people whose annual income is more than Rs 2.5 lakhs. “If we accept EWS, in the coming days, social justice principles will be diluted, and the words socially and educationally backward will be replaced with economic status. We cannot allow this,” Stalin said.

The meeting also asked the Tamil Nadu government to place its arguments in favour of maintaining equality in society and ensuring social justice when a review petition is filed before the Supreme Court.

(Published 12 November 2022, 10:00 IST)

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