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Tamil Nadu Parties to Appeal Against EWS, Say ‘Verdict Violated Social Justice’

Neelambaran A |
Following the meeting of legislative party leaders, the higher education minister informed that the 10% reservation will not be implemented in the state.

The Supreme Court on November 7 upheld a 10% reservation for the economically weaker section (EWS) in a split verdict. The political parties led by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu immediately came out against the judgement.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M K Stalin, in the meeting of the legislative party leaders on November 12, rejected the verdict upholding the 103rd amendment of the Constitution citing a breach of social justice. The meeting also resolved to file a review petition against the verdict.

Following the meeting, the minister for higher education informed that the 10% reservation will not be implemented in the state and the government's decision to follow the prevailing 69% reservation in the state in education and employment will continue.

The meeting was boycotted by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), citing their support for the reservation for the EWS among forward castes. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], which is in favour of the reservation, participated and placed its demands on revising the fixed income slab and the flat 10% reservation provided.

The Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) parties, except for the Congress and CPI(M), have decided to hold state-wide public meetings to explain their opposition to the EWS reservation. 


The meeting of the legislative party leaders of the state was convened by the chief minister after the 10% reservation for the EWS was upheld by the Supreme Court. Tamil Nadu was the first state to react against the verdict, in continuation with the social justice principle, as claimed by the Dravidian parties.

Chief Minister M K Stalin pointed to Article 340 of the Constitution to challenge the verdict. “In Article 340 of the Indian Constitution, backwardness is defined based on social and educational backwardness. So, the reservation should be given only on the basis of social and educational backwardness,” he said while addressing the meeting. 

The CM went on to insist that the judgement is a big threat to the principle of social justice being safeguarded for over a century. 

“The Union government has threatened the existing definition by introducing the economic criteria for reservation, by passing the amendment in 2019. Those who blamed reservation claiming that it undermines merit are now supporting this,” Stalin added. 

Stating that EWS is against the constitution and social justice and the nine-judge constitution bench judgement in 1992, he proposed a resolution to file a review petition which was adopted by the participant parties. 

The history behind the opposition to EWS goes back several decades when the Justice Party and the Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) built a social movement against the dominance of brahmins in different sections of society. 


The CPI(M) has continuously supported the reservation for the EWS, but raised concerns over the eligibility criterion proposed by the Union government. 

The party has flayed the decision to fix the ceiling of Rs 8 lakhs per annum for claiming the reservation and the 10% quota fixed.

In the submission made in the all-party meeting, the CPI(M) said, "Around 95% of the population are under the ambit of reservation as per unofficial records. While only 5% are not getting reservation, a 10% allocation is unacceptable.” 

The party also demanded the constitution of a committee to study in detail about the income ceiling to be fixed for the reservation. 

While the Congress state leadership welcomed the reservation, the party MPs from Tamil Nadu Jothimani and Karti P Chidambaram have voiced their opposition


Most of the regional parties including the Marumalarchi Dravida Kazhagam (MDMK), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), an ally of the BJP, are against the reservation.

The parties in the Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) except the CPI(M) and Congress, held a meeting on November 15 and decided to hold public meetings to  explain their opposition to the EWS.  The meeting was convened by the Dravidar Kazhagam (DK), known for its ardent support of the existing reservation system. 

A resolution passed in the meeting reminded of the failed attempts of former Chief Minister M G Ramachandran on fixing an income slab of Rs 9,000 per annum for availing reservation. 

"If reservation is to be provided to all caste groups, then proportional representation is the possible solution. This reservation will benefit only the brahmins,” a statement published after the meeting claimed. 

The reservation for the EWS has divided the two major camps in the state, led by the DMK and the AIADMK. But, given the history of the state on protests for reservation and Hindi imposition, the fight against the EWS is set to continue.


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