New Delhi : In what may become a significant litigation creating a social turmoil in the country, some persons belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) have moved the Supreme Court to exclude the creamy layer from availing benefits accorded to the SCs and STs in government jobs and higher education, dubbing those in the upper ladder as “neo-exploiter group.”
Their concern is that the benefits of SC/ST reservation and other government schemes are “being continuously usurped by 4-5% uplifted SCs and STs” leaving 95% poor high and dry. Their grievance is that “this ‘neo-exploiter group’ is endeavouring at all fronts, so that this bounty privilege of carrying backward birth mark for all times be not snatched away from them.”
They have challenged the Constitution Bench’s 1992 judgment in the Indra Sawhney case, declaring even the uplifted SCs and STs as backward for all times.
If the creamy layer, based on the means (income level), can work in case of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), why not similar remedy to prevent the well-off SCs and STs cornering away major chunk of reservations, they argued in a petition heard on Friday by a Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which felt such a matter will have to go to the Constitution Bench if Indra Sawhney verdict is to be reviewed.
The Bench, which also included Justices A M Khanwilkar and D y Chandrachud, directed the petitioners to serve a copy of the PIL on the Centre to spell out its stand and listed it for hearing after two weeks.
The petitioners said he is the Indra Sawhney that created a neo-exploiter group within the communities. It is the petitioners’ case that the observation in Indra Sawhney, which declares uplifted SC/STs as backward for all times, makes them “eligible to usurp the rights of reservation of actual backward persons of SCs and STs.”
The PIL has sought “appropriate instructions and guidelines prescribing parameters and criteria for excluding creamy-layer from SCs and STs, in pari materia to OBC.” It basically wants the rich among the SCs and STs kept out of reservation to ensure the benefits go to the poor and the needy.
The petitioners’ logic is that no class or caste has remained homogeneously backward through the course of time and hence reservation benefits should not be made available to the creamy layer, a concept which was introduced in case of the OBCs in 1993 by excluding those with annual income of Rs 1 lakh from enjoying benefits of the reservation. The income level has been since revised from time to time and the last revision was done last August when it was raised to Rs 8 lakh from Rs 6 lakh fixed in 2013.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)