India Education
Tamil Nadu includes Muslim, Christian backward groups in quota
Apr 5, 2007 - 5:54:37 PM

Chennai, April 5 - Backward groups among the minority Christian and Muslim communities in Tamil Nadu will get the benefit of the reservation quota in educational institutions and government services.

Participating in a debate on the demands of grants for the minorities department, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi told the assembly that the government had accepted the recommendations of the state's Backward Classes Commission headed by Justice M. Janardanam, a retired judge of the Madras High court.

The reservation quota in the state include 30 percent for backward classes -, 20 percent for most backward classes - and denotified tribes -, 18 percent for scheduled castes -, and 1 percent for scheduled tribes -. The overall reservation is thus 69 percent, benefiting as much as 87 percent of this state's population.

'The government would take legal steps to implement the exclusive reservation for minorities -, once the Supreme Court pronounces its verdict on the 69 percent reservation case,' Karunanidhi said.

The decision comes after a January judgement of the Supreme Court, which ordered constitution of a three-judge bench to study if state reservation laws can be included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.

The Tamil Nadu Reservation Act passed by the assembly was included in the 9th Schedule - in August 1994.

It was challenged in court and its constitutional validity is still in question. Tamil Nadu is afraid that its 69 percent quota might be cut by the courts.

Karunanidhi recalled that a 'communal Government Order of 1921' had sown the seeds of reservation in India.

He pointed out that at that time Muslims and Indian Christians were also meant to enjoy the benefits of reservation.

Another government order in 1927 provided for Muslims and Christians 'separate reservation on the basis of rotation', he noted.

From 1951 onwards, BCs in Tamil Nadu have enjoyed 25 percent reservation. In 1969 the first Tamil Nadu State Backward Classes Commission, headed by A.N. Sattanathan, recommended a separate 16 percent reservation for the MBCs and 17 percent for the BCs.

In 1971, the DMK government hiked the BC quota from 25 percent to 31 percent and the SC and ST quota to 18 percent.

The chief minister pointed out that the DMK government in 1973-74 included Urdu-speaking Labbies and Tekkani Muslims in the list of the BCs.

In 1980, the M.G. Ramachandran government increased the BC quota from 31 percent to 50 percent, and a few years later the DMK government took the total quota to 69 percent.

Ever since, the state's higher educational institutions have 69 percent seats reserved for BCs and other backward classes -.

The second Tamil Nadu State Backward Classes Commission came into existence on March 15, 1993, headed by J.A. Ambashankar.

Karunanidhi said Justice M. Janardanam, a retired judge of the Madras High court, had been asked to review the Ambashankar panel report on BCs and OBCs and 'had stated that the report of the Second Commission could be the basis for the exclusive reservation for Christians and Muslims'.

The Ambashankar Commission, he said, had studied the population pattern of the of backward class people among the Hindus, Christians and Muslims in Tamil Nadu.

Karunanidhi said full details on the exclusive reservation will be announced after consultations with friendly parties. It was a DMK poll promise, he said.

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