Abolish communal quota at least by 2050, says HC

TAMIL NADU
Abolish communal quota at least by 2050, says HC
Mohamed Imranullah S.
CHENNAI 08 SEPTEMBER 2020 00:19 IST
UPDATED: 08 SEPTEMBER 2020 00:19 IST
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Court rejects TNPSC stand over sub-castes
The State government should think of abolishing communal reservations in education and public employment at least by the year 2050 so that people of the State could unite under one roof and become a model State for the whole country, the Madras High Court has said.

Justice S. Vaidyanathan made the observation while disposing of a writ petition pending in the High Court since 2010 with respect to the reluctance of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission to provide information related to communal break-up of candidates selected for public employment.

TNPSC had filed the petition challenging an order passed by Tamil Nadu Information Commission in 2009. It claimed that providing information, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act of 2005, with respect to sub-castes of selected candidates would lead to communal discontent and strife.

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Disagreeing with such a stand taken by the writ petitioner and upholding the Information Commission’s order to provide the information, the judge said: “The apprehension of TNPSC, that in-depth description of castes will create communal unrest, is only an illusion and imaginary. “If it is the real concern of the TNPSC and the government, they should think of abolishing the quota system as well as removal of column regarding caste particulars in school certificates so that people of Tamil Nadu could stand united under one roof irrespective of caste, creed and religion.”

As long as communal reservation was in place, disclosing details such as sub-castes of the individuals who got selected for public employment under different quotas would only help in throwing light on the representation that each community gets, the judge added.

On the other ground raised by TNPSC that it had refused to disclose the information also in view of exemption provided under Section8(1)(d) of the RTI Act, the judge said it had become a habit for every other public authority to deny information under the same provision.

He pointed out that only information related to commercial confidence, trade secrets, intellectual property and anything that could harm competitive position of a third party could be denied and not information related to sub- castes of people selected for public employment.

Taking a dig at the Information Commission too, the judge said this was one of the “rarest of rare” cases where the commission had “boldly” taken a decision directing the TNPSC to disclose requisite information and hence he did not find any reason to interfere with such a decision.

Further, coming down hard on Public Information Officers who avoid disclosing information on untenable grounds, Justice Vaidyanathan said: “In my view, they are unfit to hold the post of PIO or any other post in connection with the discharge of duties under the RTI Act.

“Such officers should be shown the doors so that it serves as a lesson for others to act in accordance with the terms of the Act.” After dismissing the writ petition, the judge directed TNPSC to disclose the name of the PIO involved in the present issue by October 14.

He also directed the State government to circulate his judgment to all its departments, public sector undertakings and corporations so that the authorities concerned would come to know of consequences of not furnishing information sought under the RTI Act.

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