How Jayalalithaa ensured Tamil Nadu got 69% quota reservation
- Jayalalithaa ensured that her state would have 69% reservation
- She defied the Supreme Court and Madras High Court which states that reservation cannot be more than 50%
- In 1994, Tamil Nadu Act was added in the Ninth Schedule so it could not be challenged
Jayalalithaa has always marched to the beat of her drum, and it didn’t matter who stood in the way, and that includes the Supreme Court.
Previously, the quota scheme for education and employment was operated on executive orders. But under her leadership, she was successful in breaking the 50 % reservation quota. Tamil Nadu has 69 % reservation.
The reservation policy stands across the country stands at 50%, but in Tamil Nadu, under Jayalalithaa the reservation scheme rose to 69%.
According to a report in The Hindu, the 69 % quota was directed towards, “Backward Classes (26.5 per cent), Most Backward Classes/ Denotified Communities (20 per cent), BC Muslims (3.5 per cent), Scheduled Castes (18 per cent) and Scheduled Tribes (one per cent). In the mid-1990s, BC Muslims were part of the BCs, and a separate quota for them was implemented in 2007 during the DMK regime.”
During her first term, Jayalalithaa encountered a hurdle. In the 90s, the Supreme Court had ruled that reservation should not be more than 50%. Keeping this in mind, the Madras High Court, too, directed the state to revise its reservation quota. But that was not to happen.
Instead, this led to the Tamil Nadu Act of 1994, after a demand for the scheme to have constitutional protection was adopted in 1993 by the Assembly. This included reservation of seats in education and employment for backward classes, and scheduled castes and tribes.
Her meetings with the then PM Narasimha Rao in Delhi was successful. She also ensured that the Tamil Nadu Act be added in the Ninth Schedule so it could not be challenged. This also included the creamy layer – a political term for wealthier and educated people who are not eligible for government sponsorship.
It’s little wonder then that she was then given the title of Samooga Neethi Kaatha Veeranganai which translates to as the one who upheld social justice.