In Supreme Court, Centre’s push to review exclusion of SC, ST creamy layer

The Centre on Monday asked the Supreme Court to set up a larger bench to decide on the exclusion of creamy layer for reservation benefits to people from the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe communities.

Attorney general KK Venugopal told the top court on Monday that a bench of 7 judges should be set up to revisit the 2018 ruling in the Jarnail Singh case that held the principle of creamy layer should be applied to SC/ST communities for reservation in promotions.

At the heart of the 2018 verdict lay a judgment delivered 12 years earlier. This 2006 judgment had effectively implied that SC and ST employees could get guaranteed promotions only if the government produces hard data to demonstrate “compelling reasons”.

The Supreme Court last year turned down the request for a larger bench to revisit the 2006 verdict but ruled that there was no need to provide “quantifiable data” to show the communities needed the affirmative action.

The government has strongly backed restoring quotas in promotions for SCs and STs, arguing that these communities had suffered social inequalities for years and it should be presumed that they remain underprivileged communities for extending them reservations in promotions in the public services.

‘Creamy layer’ is the term used to describe better-off individuals among other backward classes who are ineligible for reservations as per the Mandal Commission provisions. The Centre has been against extending this principle to the presidential order on quotas for SCs and STs