CHENNAI : Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy, after a meeting of legislature parties held under Chief Minister M K Stalin in Chennai on Saturday, said the state government would not implement 10 per cent reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and 69 per cent reservation would continue in the state. The meeting rejected the 103rd Constitutional Amendment providing for 10 per cent EWS quota, saying it created caste-based discrimination among the poor.
Explaining the rationale for the State government’s decision to not implement EWS quota even after the SC upholding it, the TN minister said, “The SC did not ask the State governments to implement this. It is applicable only to Central government jobs and educational institutions.”
While leaders of DMK, Congress, CPM, CPI, PMK, VCK, MDMK, MMK, TVK and KNMDK took part in the meeting, AIADMK and BJP boycotted it. Leaders of most of the parties that took part in the meeting decided to file review petitions in their individual capacity and agreed to support the steps to be taken by the Tamil Nadu government in protecting social justice.
However, the minister said as of now, there are no legal provisions. But when review petitions filed by political parties come up for hearing, the state government would extend legal assistance.
Speaking at the meeting, the CM said accepting 10 per cent reservation for EWS would pave way for destroying the very basis of social justice in the long run and would eventually make economic status the sole criterion for everything.
Stalin referred to the observation of former SC judge O Chinnappa Reddy that reservation is not a poverty alleviation scheme. Many verdicts of the SC in the past had pointed out that the purpose of reservation is to help socially oppressed sections of the society that were denied opportunities in education and employment.
“We are not opposing any scheme for the welfare of the poor among the forward communities. But we are opposing the move to change the fundamental basis for ensuring social justice. As per the EWS, those who earn less than Rs 8 lakh can benefit. Can those earning Rs 66,660 a month or Rs 2,222 per day be considered poor? The BJP government says those earning less than Rs 2 lakh need not pay income tax. Then how can those with an income of Rs 8 lakh be classified as poor?” Stalin asked.