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Creamy layer concept not applicable in SC/ST quota: Govt to SC

In a brief submission before a Supreme Court bench, additional solicitor general PS Narasimha said the government will not do anything to dilute benefits offered to the SC and STs.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2018 23:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
SC/ST Quota,Creamy Layer,NDA Government
A Supreme Court bench was hearing a PIL seeking to stop affluent members of SCs and STs from accessing reservation benefits.(PTI)

The Centre on Wednesday opposed public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to deny benefits of reservations in government jobs and university seats to the so-called creamy layer, or affluent members, of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).

In a brief submission before a Supreme Court bench led by chief justice Dipak Misra, additional solicitor general PS Narasimha said the government will not do anything to dilute benefits offered to the SC and STs. He opposed the concept of a creamy layer within the SC/ST.

The bench was hearing a PIL seeking to stop affluent members of SCs and STs from accessing reservation benefits, citing the fact that well-off sections of other backward classes (OBCs) are denied government job and university seat quotas in line with the report of a committee headed by Bindeshwari Prasad Mandal, a former chief minister of Bihar, implemented in the 1990s.

Narasimha said this principle cannot be applied to the Presidential order on quotas for SCs and STs.

The bench asked the law officer to file an affidavit spelling out the government’s categorical stand.

In its petition,Samta Andolan Samiti, a non-government organisation, contended that the rich among the SC/ST communities were snatching away reservation benefits, while the deserving and impoverished continued to “bite the dust.” The petitioner claims to represent the poor and downtrodden strata of the SC/ST community in Rajasthan.

This is the first time that a petition has been filed seeking to introduce the creamy layer concept for the SCs and STs.

The petition said non-percolation of benefits to the needy and really backward sections has led to social unrest and poverty and fuelled the Maoist movement.

Referring to a 2006 judgement by a Constitution Bench, the petition argued that the value of assets of an individual claiming reservations should be taken into consideration to exclude the creamy layer from among quota beneficiaries.

“The uplifted/affluent and advanced sections of the SCs/STs snatch away the maximum benefit and 95% members of these communities are at a disadvantage. The affluent among the SCs/STs are siphoning off the reservation benefits given to them by the state government as well as the central government... The benefits of the reservation policy are not percolating down to the people who are in actual need of them,” the petition argued.

The petition also cited the Centre’s Advisory Committee on the revision of the list of Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes. Set up in 1965, the committee had said that “backwardness has a tendency to perpetuate itself and those who are listed as backward try to remain as such due to various concessions and benefits they derive. Thus, backwardness becomes a vested interest”.

First Published: Mar 28, 2018 23:15 IST