Creamy layer in SC / ST reservation

The Central Government has requested the Supreme Court to set up a seven-member Constitution Bench to reconsider the year 2018 decision given by the Constitution Bench regarding the creamy layer in SC / ST reservation so that SC / ST Whether or not to apply creamy layer in reservation can be considered. It is important to note that in the Jarnail Singh vs Laxmi Narayan Gupta case on 26 September last year, the Supreme Court upheld the applicability of the creamy layer to the economically affluent people of SC / ST category.

What is the dispute?

  • In fact, the government wants the Supreme Court to reconsider its stand in which it believes that socially, educationally and economically advanced people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes should not get the benefit of reservation.
  • In the case of Jarnail Singh v. Laxmi Narayan Gupta, the Supreme Court had agreed to the preceding decision given in its own 12 year old M. Nagaraj v. Government of India case.
  • In M. Nagaraj v. Government of India, the Supreme Court favored that reservation should be implemented in a limited sense in the country, otherwise it would never prove effective in ending the caste system.
  • The then bench of the Supreme Court was of the view that it should be ensured that the entire benefit of SC / ST should not be given only to select socially and economically strong people belonging to this class, hence the concept of creamy layer in reservation It is necessary to use.
  • Through this, it will be ensured that the benefit of reservation can reach the last person of SC / ST category.
  • However, contrary to the view of the Supreme Court, the government believes that the concept of ‘creamy layer’ can become a major reason to deprive the backward class of the benefits of reservation.
  • Attorney-General K.K., representing the government before the Supreme Court. According to Venugopal, the SC / ST community still faces centuries-old practices.
SC / ST reservation

Creamy layer concept

  • The creamy layer refers to the part of a particular group that is socially and economically stronger than others in its group. Its definition in India is quite broad.
  • It mainly consists of the President, Vice-President, Supreme Court and High Court Judges, Chief Election Commissioner and CAG occupying constitutional posts.
  • It is known that the concept of creamy layer was first introduced by the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney vs Government of India. It was a landmark judgment given on 16 November 1992 by a 9-member bench of the Supreme Court.
  • In Indra Sawhney v. Government of India, the Supreme Court upheld the government’s move to provide 27 percent reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBC) based on the Mandal Commission report. But at the same time it also decided that the creamy layer or socially powerful part of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) should not be included in the backward class.
  • A 9-member bench of the court had said that the ‘economic parameters’ can be used as an indication to identify the creamy layer in a particular category.
  • At the same time, the court also directed the central government to set some criteria regarding income and property.
  • The ceiling of creamy layer was fixed at Rs 1 lakh in the year 1993, after which it was increased to Rs 2.5 lakh in the year 2004, Rs 4.5 lakh in the year 2008, Rs 6 lakh in the year 2013 and increased to Rs 8 lakh in 2017. .

SC / ST and creamy layer

  • In Indira Sawhney v. Government of India, the court also said that reservation will apply only to initial appointments and not to promotions.
  • Disagreeing with the decision of the Supreme Court, the government incorporated Article 16 (4A) through the 77th Constitution Amendment Act, 1995 and also continued its policy of increasing the quota for SC / ST in promotions.
  • Behind this move, the government argued that their representation in the services of the state has not yet reached the required level.
  • Subsequently, in the year 2000, the Government added Article 16 (4B) to the Constitution through the 81st Constitutional Amendment Act, according to which, in the event of the vacancies not being filled by the State inviting them to a separate category in a year, these vacancies should be set aside Will be filled in the next year. Also, a provision has been made that these vacancies will not be included in the 50 percent limit reserved for that year.
  • Through the 82nd Constitutional Amendment in the year 2000, it was determined by adding another proviso to Article 335 of the Constitution that while filling vacancies reserved for members of the SC / ST community in the services of Union and States through qualification marks and Standards of evaluation may be reduced.
  • These amendments made by the Government were challenged before the Supreme Court through a number of petitions and the M. Nagaraj vs. Government of India case of 2006 is considered to be the most prominent in this. While giving a decision on this matter, a five-member bench laid three conditions before the government for giving reservation on promotion in government jobs:
  • The government cannot implement reservation in promotion for its SC / ST employees until it is proved that the particular community is backward.
  • Reservation in promotion should not affect the overall efficiency of public administration.
  • The government’s opinion should be based on quantitative data.
  • With this, in the case of M. Nagaraj vs. Government of India, it has been decided that the provision of creamy layer on SC / ST reservation in promotion of government jobs will be applicable.

Reservation in India

  • India’s age old caste system and untouchability like untouchability are the main reason for the origin of reservation system in the country. In simple terms, reservation means to make the access of a particular section in government jobs, educational institutions and legislatures easier.
  • These classes have historically faced many injustices due to their caste identity.
  • In the year 1882, William Hunter and Jyotirao Phule originally conceived the caste based reservation system.
supreme court
  • The current system of reservation was truly introduced in the year 1933 when the then British Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald gave a communal award. It is known that under this award, separate constituencies were provided for Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, Europeans and Dalits.
  • Initially after independence, reservation was made only for SC and ST communities. On the recommendations of the Mandal Commission, OBC was also included in the reservation ambit in the year 1991.

Argument in opposition to creamy layer in SC / ST reservation

  • The SC / ST community was given reservations in politics, public services and educational institutions especially because they had been deprived of rights such as property and education for nearly 2,000 years.
  • Apart from this, they still have to face untouchability like untouchability. Currently, discrimination continues at the social level.
  • Critics of the creamy layer concept in SC / ST reservation say that this concept rests solely on economic grounds, while there is also a social aspect of reservation that should not be ignored.
  • Statistics show that about 12000 cases of discrimination in government jobs are pending with the SC / ST Commission itself.
  • Experts say that we need to understand that even though both OBC and SC get reservation, the discrimination faced by Dalits is not with the OBC community.

Argument in favor of creamy layer in SC / ST reservation

creamy layer in sc

  • The supporters of the creamy layer believe that if this concept is implemented properly in SC / ST reservation then the financially strong sections within the community without touching the rights given to SC / ST community through it It can be separated.
  • The most important benefit of this will be that the benefit of SC / ST reservation will also reach those of the community who are still deprived of it.
  • Proponents say that the constitution is a coherence of ideas and ideals and if we have to bring equality of opportunity then a just society has to be built. The importance of reservation in the society cannot be denied and the more people reach its benefits, the better it will be for the society.

The conclusion

Reservation and various issues related to India have always been at the center of discussion. There is a need to recognize the role of reservation in the development of Indian society especially backward classes. It is necessary to consult various stakeholders related to the topic and to find a balanced path as far as possible.

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