‘Creamy layer’ concept not applicable to SC/ST: Centre tells Supreme Court
The Centre on Monday sought a review of the Supreme Court verdict in 2018 on the exclusion of the “creamy layer” within the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) category from the reservation benefit.
The Centre’s top law officer, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal arguing before a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said that there are doubts on the correctness of the five-judge bench judgement in the Jarnail Singh case in 2018.
Venugopal said, “We want this matter to be heard by a larger bench. Earlier, it was five-judge bench, but we want it to go before a seven-judge bench. The concept of creamy layer cannot be applied to the category of SC/ST.”
The creamy layer principle, distinguishes between the affluent among disadvantaged sections, especially from a social perspective, should not be considered for reservation in jobs and admissions. The creamy layer applies only to Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The A-G contended before the court that the five-judge bench apparently did not take into consideration the SC/ST communities were kept outside the ambit of the creamy layer by another judgement in 2008 by a five-judge bench. He referred to the Indra Sawhney matter.
Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan, representing Samta Andolan Samiti, opposed this argument. This Samiti represents the lowest strata of the SC/ST communities in Rajasthan. Sankaranarayan argued that the Jarnail Singh verdict was very clear and left and no doubt, and there is no merit in propping up the same issue again.
He insisted before the bench that the review of the judgement cannot be brought up every year, and the 2018 verdict was clear on the concept of creamy layer, therefore, the review does not hold any merit.
Attorney General contended before the court that a seven-judge bench should be set up to examine the latest verdict on the matter. After this argument, the Chief Justice said the court will take up the matter after two weeks.
In the Jarnail Singh case, the five-judge bench had said that the Constitutional courts, implementing the principal of reservation will be within jurisdiction to exclude the creamy layer from such groups or sub-groups, and this is will be in the favour of the principle of equality.