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.
Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde that there are doubts on the correctness of the five-judge bench judgment in the Jarnail Singh case in 2018.
“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 and says they should not be considered for reservation in jobs and admissions. The creamy layer applies only to Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
Referring to the Indra Sawhney matter, A-G Venugopal contended before the court that the five-judge bench apparently did not take into consideration that SC/ST communities were kept outside the ambit of the creamy layer by another judgment in 2008 by a five-judge bench.
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 no doubt and there is no merit in propping up the same issue again.
He insisted before the bench that the review of the judgment 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.
The 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 principle of reservation, will be within the jurisdiction to exclude the creamy layer from such groups or sub-groups and this will be in the favour of the principle of equality.
One of the PILs has sought a direction to “evolve an objective and rational test for identification of the creamy layer among SC/STs and separating the same from the non-creamy layer SC/ST”.