THE SUPREME Court on Monday justified the exclusion of the better off — or 'creamy layer' — from among the other backward classes (OBCs), scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) for reservations in government jobs, saying reservations were intended to uplift the worse-off among these communities.
On October 19, the court had ruled that the creamy layer among SCs and STs should not be allowed to benefit from job reservations.
"The concept of creamy layer is not meant to exclude anybody… but to promote those who are financially worse-off," said a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal. The bench said this concept became acceptable after the apex court judgment of 1993 in the Indra Sawhney case on the Mandal Commission recommendations. The court had then ruled that the creamy layer among the OBCs should be kept out of the quota's purview.
The court's observations were made on a petition filed by Haribhau Rathod, a BJP MP from Yavatmal in Maharashtra. The petition has pleaded that artisans, and others who perform hereditary caste occupations should be eligible for reservation benefits, even if their income put them in the creamy layer category.
The court said if the affluent among the OBCs were not excluded from quota in government jobs, it would affect those who need affirmative action. "You are only paying lip service to those who are in fact socially, educationally and economically backward," the court told the petitioner's counsel who argued that even if financially well-off, certain communities deserved quota benefits. "Do you mean to say that OBCs who are not in the creamy layer category should not get the benefit, and financially well-off among them should continue to get the benefit of reservation at the cost of those who really deserve it?" the court firstname.lastname@example.org