The Supreme Court has indicated that it would examine a PIL seeking to make ‘affluent sections’ among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) ineligible for reservations provided to the communities in government jobs and education.
The court directed that a copy of the petition filed by the Samta Andolan Samiti demanding that the creamy layer be removed so that the benefits of reservation in admissions and jobs reach ‘those who actually need it’. The Cabinet Secretariat, the Department of Personnel and Training, Department of Legal Affairs, the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes have been made parties to the petition.
The petitioner claimed majority of entitlements for the poor and downtrodden sections were appropriated by the affluent and advanced sections of SC/ST, much to the disadvantage of weaker sections. It argued that they were “still without any benefit of reservation and the benefit of government schemes meant for backward SC/ST communities. Thus benefits of the reservation policy are not percolating to the people in actual need… and the practice of including members of creamy layers of the communities has resulted in abuse by the advanced and affluent members.”
Association members claimed that they had first approached the statutory authorities seeking to exempt creamy layer from their communities from claiming the benefits, but did not get a positive response. They argued that government studies such as the Lokur Committee had shown that the benefits were not percolating down to genuine beneficiaries.
“Resultantly, the intent and purpose of reservation or affirmative action for depressed or disadvantaged class stands defeated.” The petition called the ‘creamy 5%’ ‘neoexploiters’. Non-exclusion of creamy layer also perpetuates casteism in the country, the PIL said, as the privileged among the community do not shun the benefits even after intercaste marriages.