The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Central government spell its position on a plea seeking to leave out the "creamy layer" amongst the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from the ambit of reservation.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A.M.Khanwilkar sought the government's response after Additional Solicitor General P.S. Narasimha told the court that there was no concept of creamy layer in the SC/ST to be excluded from reservation.
However, he made it clear that he was stating this by way of assisting the bench in his capacity as an officer of the court.
Asking the Centre to state its position on affidavit, the court gave it four weeks time to this and gave petitioner Samta Andolan Samiti two weeks to file its rejoinder as it directed the listing of the matter in second week of July.
Referring to the newspaper reports on the "outrages" being committed on the members of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities across the country, the petitioner said that despite the Constitution's Article 17 that provides for abolishing untouchability, the "amelioration of these communities remain a pipe dream".
The provisions for reservation in Articles 15 and 16, not to mention Articles 330 and 332 have for long sought to uplift these communities, it said, but noted that only a select few from SC/ST communities continue to reap the benefits of reservation generation after generation while almost the entire community remains deprived.
Articled 15 prohibit discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth and Article 16 guarantees equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. Article 330 and 332 provides for the reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and the State assemblies.
The petition says that the only way situation can be remedied is to exclude the creamy layer so that only the truly backward in the SC/ST could avail the benefit of reservations.
"It cannot anymore be taken for granted that the entirety of the SC or ST communities are backward and have remained so for nearly 70 years, because that would be a sad commentary on this nation's governance," the Samiti said in its petition.
Claiming to represent the "truly backward among SCs/STs" who have been deprived their rightful entitlement to reservation by the prosperous elite within these groups, it sought that the "creamy layer be excluded from the SCs/STs as well and that these measures be taken with expedition".
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