The bench then posted the matter for a final hearing in the second week of July.
New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that the “creamy layer” concept or principle would not apply for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes reservations and the NDA government would not pass any order for the removal of the “creamy layer” among SC/STs.
The Supreme Court had on Monday sought the response of the Centre on a writ petition seeking exclusion of the “creamy layer” among the SC/STs from the purview of reservation as they are taking away benefits due to the poor and downtrodden strata of SC/ST.
Additional solicitor-general P.S. Narasimha made this submission before a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A.M. Kanwilkar, hearing a petition filed by the Rajasthan-based Samta Andolan Samiti and nine members of this society who belong to the poor and downtrodden strata of SC/ST seeking removal of the “creamy layer”.
The ASG submitted that an order passed by the President of India under Article 341 of the Constitution would not include “creamy layer” and this principle would not apply to SC/STs. He also made it clear that the Centre will not remove the creamy layer from among SC/STs from the purview of reservation.
Article 341 says “the President may with respect to any state or Union territory, and where it is a state after consultation with the governor thereof, by public notification, specify the castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups within castes, races or tribes which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Castes in relation to that state or Union territory, as the case may be”.
However, counsel Gopal Sankaranarayan for the samiti submitted that quota would not apply for third-generation SC/STs as they would come within the ambit of creamy layer. Taking note of the rival submissions, the CJI asked the ASG to file an affidavit explaining the Centre’s stand in four weeks and the petitioner was given four weeks to file a rejoinder. The bench then posted the matter for a final hearing in the second week of July.
The petitioners said they are approaching this court for protection of their fundamental rights as the creamy layer in the SC/ST communities are siphoning off reservation benefits given to them by state governments as well as the Central government.
They submitted that it is due to the fact that the uplifted/ affluent and advanced sections of SC/ST communities snatch away the maximum benefits and 95 per cent members of SC/ST communities are in disadvantageous position and they are still without any benefit of reservation and benefit of government schemes meant for backward SC/ST communities.
The petitioners pointed out that the Supreme Court in the Mandal judgment (Indra Sawhney case) had observed that the benefit of reservation must reach the poorest and weakest section of the class itself. With this pious thought, the Supreme Court recommended that the creamy layer be taken out from the list of OBCs and not from the list of SC/ST communities. They wanted the court to revisit this judgment to this extent, as this was against the provisions of the Constitution. The Preamble of the Constitution, Article 14, 15 and 16 ensures the fundamental right to equality and they further ensure social justice to all citizens of India, which includes protection of actual backward SCs/STs from advanced/ affluent and uplifted SCs/STs.