3 per cent sub-quota for Arunthathiyars to continue

The court transferred the case to a larger bench while observing that the State governments are entitled to provide sub-quota within Scheduled Caste category

Published: 28th August 2020 05:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th August 2020 05:53 AM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (File Photo| Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that the State governments are entitled to provide sub-quota within the Scheduled Caste (SC) category, thereby providing a temporary respite to the Arunthathiyars section in the State. The constitution bench of five judges, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, referred the case to a larger bench.

One of the most marginalised sub-sections among Dalits in the State, Arunthathiyars have largely remained underdeveloped with poor literacy level for decades. The primary reasons for the backwardness of the working class communities could be attributed to the lack of political mobilisation, thanks to its numerically smaller population.

A few attempts to organise the community members politically since the 1940s went in vain as most of them remained uneducated. The demand for a separate quota for Arunthathiyars was made in 1984, by “Youth Guidance Service”, a group formed by the educated youth among the community in 1980. Later, one of its members, Adhiyaman formed the Aadhi Tamilar Peravai, which held protests jointly with the CPM, pressing for reservation.

In 2009, the State government, headed by the then DMK chief M Karunanidhi, introduced a special quota for the community, combining seven castes out of the 74 listed in the SC category. The sub-quota was introduced based on a report submitted by the Justice Janarthanam Commission, which stated that Arunthathiyars were highly under-represented in government departments and educational institutions.

The committee added that Arunthathiyars only accounted for 16 per cent of the Dalit population, according to the 2001 census. Since then, all political parties barring Puthiya Thamizhagam – a Dalit party – have backed their reservation demands. Adhiyaman said he wholeheartedly welcomed the judgment, which validated their demand for reservation. “Everybody among the Dalits did not enjoy the same status, socially. Even today, we are facing discrimination within Dalits,” he said.

Even as Puthiya Thamizhagam’s K Krishnasamy could not be reached for comments, his party cadre pointed out that the 200-point roster system adopted for implementing reservation in government jobs was one of the reasons they were opposed to the quota. Under the said system, out of 100 vacancies, 18 per cent of the posts are reserved for SC. After the sub-quota, the government-earmarked vacancies at ranks 2; 36 and 66 will go for Arunthathiyars, they said.

“If say, two Assistant Professor posts are vacant, the first one will go to the general category and the second post will be filled by somebody from the Arunthathiyar community, bypassing others,” said a Puthiya Thamizhagam party member. Given that a huge number of Group I and II posts have remained unfilled for years, the sub-quota would affect other SC government employees. “Had the quota been implemented after filling the existing vacancies, none would have been affected,” he explained. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and DMK president MK Stalin welcomed the apex court judgment.


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