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Govt asks SC to refer issue of creamy layer exclusion from SC/ST to larger bench

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The central government on Monday asked the Supreme Court to refer the matter concerning the exclusion of the creamy layer from the Schedules Caste and Schedules Tribes for reservation benefits to a seven-judge bench.

A three judges bench comprising of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Surya Kant while hearing the matter said that “It will deal with the question of whether to refer the issue of exclusion of creamy layer among SC/ST can be referred to a larger bench after two weeks”.

The petition has been filed by O.P. Shukla who is the President of the National Coordination Committee for reservation policy and President of the All India Harijan League founded by Mahatma Gandhi in the year 1931, seeking substantive equality amongst the Schedules Castes and Scheduled Tribes inter se granted to them under Article 14 and Article 16 of the Constitution of India, so as to enable proper apportionment of benefits of affirmative actions to the genuinely needy/deserving SCs/STs after removing those members who have by virtue of deriving long and continued benefit no longer remain identified with the term “backward classes” specifically SCs/STs.

The petitioner clarifies that the writ petition is limited to reservations in Government service and academic institutions covered under Article 16(4) and Article 15(4) respectively.

The petitioner has prayed for formulation of a “means test” for identification of “creamy layer in Schedules caste and scheduled tribes” under Article 15(4) and Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India. It further prays for exclusion of the “creamy layer in SC and ST” from receiving the benefits.

It has further prayed for issuance of directions to Indian Govt. to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 after evolving and undertaking an objective and rational test for identification of creamy layer amongst the SC/STs and separating the same from the non-creamy layer SC/STs with respect to affirmative actions/reservation law under Articles 14, 15 and Article 16 of the Constitution of India.

A five-judge Constitution bench in 2018 had held that the well-off members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe communities, who are also termed creamy layer, cannot be granted the benefits of reservation in college admissions and government jobs.

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