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Creamy Layer Can't Apply to SCs/STs, Centre Tells SC, Wants 2018 Judgment Reviewed

Supreme Court. (Image: Network18 Creatives)

Supreme Court. (Image: Network18 Creatives)

The creamy layer principle, under which the 'advanced' among the socially disadvantaged sections are excluded from the quotas for jobs and admissions, now applies only to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

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Utkarsh Anand

New Delhi: The central government on Monday sought a reconsideration of the 2018 Supreme Court judgment that sought to exclude “creamy layer” within the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) categories from reservation benefits.

Attorney General KK Venugopal expressed doubts over correctness of the five-judge bench judgement in Jarnail Singh's case in 2018. “We want the matter to be now heard by a seven-judge bench. The creamy layer concept cannot be applied to SC/ST,” Venugopal submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.

The law officer said the five-judge bench seemed to have not taken into account that the SC/ST communities were kept outside the ambit of the creamy layer concept by another five-judge bench in the Indra Sawhney (Mandal case) judgment in 2008.

AG's arguments were opposed by senior lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayan, who was appearing for Samta Andolan Samiti, which represents the poor and downtrodden strata of SC/ST communities in Rajasthan.

Sankaranarayan contended that the Jarnail Singh judgment was unequivocal and the same issue cannot be argued again and again. "This cannot become an annual affair. The 2018 judgment is absolutely clear on the concept of creamy layer within SC/ST communities. This cannot be reopened,” he added.

Attorney General, on his part, said a seven-judge bench needs to be set up to reconsider the latest judgment. He also submitted to the bench the terms of reference and the issues that the larger bench should decide. The bench will now take up the matter after two weeks.

In the 2018 Jarnail Singh case, the five-judge bench had said: "Constitutional courts, when applying the principle of reservation will be well within their jurisdiction to exclude the creamy layer from such groups or sub-groups when applying the principles of equality."

The creamy layer principle, under which the “advanced” among the socially disadvantaged sections are excluded from the quotas for jobs and admissions, now applies only to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).


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