Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Supreme Court dismisses petition in TN reservation case

The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition seeking review of its earlier decision to allow Tamil Nadu to provide 69 per cent reservation to backward classes in excess of the 50 per cent limit imposed by the apex court in its earlier judgements.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, in a terse order, said it “found no merit in the petition” filed by the NGO, Voice Consumer Care Council, and dismissed it.

The NGO had filed the review petition challenging the apex court’s July 13 order on the ground that it had erroneously allowed Tamil Nadu government to provide 69 per cent quota, exceeding the 50 per cent limit.

The apex court had earlier on July 13 disposed of a writ petition filed by the NGO in 1994 challenging the 69 per cent quota law by directing the state to reconsider the same in the light of the various judgements relating to reservation of other backward classes.

It also permitted the state to increase the 50 per cent limit in case the quantification of data about OBCs in the state as determined by the State Backward Class Commission justified such an increase.

Seeking review of the order, the NGO had contended that when the validity of the law was before the court, the case ought not to have been sent back to the Backward Classes Commission for its discretion in determining the data.

The petition stated that neither in the judgement in “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.

“In these two judgements, 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 review petition said.

It quoted the ruling in the Nagaraj judgement wherein it was held, “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.”

The NGO 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.

But the argument failed to convince the apex court which dismissed the review petition also.

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