M A I N   N E W S

Quota for OBCs: Stop lip service, SC tells Govt
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 20
The Supreme Court today questioned the government’s approach on implementing the “creamy layer” formula for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in reservation and delaying the publication of a list of artisans engaged in hereditary occupation exempted from the application of the formula in the Mandal Commission case.

This was nothing but giving “lip service” to the implementation of the creamy layer principle, a Bench of Chief Justice Y.K Sabharwal, Mr Justice C.K Thakker and Mr Justice R.V Raveendran said, while accepting a petition by Lok Sabha MP Haribhau Rathod from Maharashtra, alleging that the Union Government was deliberately not coming out with the list even after 14 years of the verdict in Mandal Commission case.

The court said the purpose of “creamy layer” evolved by it in the Mandal verdict was not merely to exclude those financially well off among the OBCs but to promote those who were financially weak within these communities.

The principle was evolved to ensure that the economically well off among OBCs “do not march upon their brethren who are financially worst placed,” the CJI said, posting further hearing on Rathod’s public interest litigation (PIL) for November 24 with another petition of identical nature.

The PIL said the government was bound to draw a list of artisans engaged in hereditary occupations, exempted from the operation of the “creamy layer” formula among the OBCs as per the Mandal case verdict.

Though the Department of Personnel and Training had issued an Office Memorandum on September 8, 1993 stating that the rule of exclusion of “creamy layer” will not apply to persons engaged in such occupations and the Ministry of Social Welfare would draw a list to this effect but till date it has not been drawn.

His counsel Shree Pal Singh said exemption from inclusion in creamy layer to certain hereditary occupations like “dom (those burying the dead)” and those skinning dead cattle needed to be given because of their pitiable social status even thought financial position of many of them might be better.

The PIL said the issue was being tossed up by the government between the Ministry of Social Welfare and National Commission for Backward Classes even when the panel on August 24 last had opined that there was no legal or any other impediment in implementing reservation for OBCs by excluding the artisans engaged in hereditary occupations.

The questions raised by the court assume significance in the wake of various allies of UPA Government opposing the implementation of “creamy layer” formula. The apex court, in a recent judgement on SC, ST reservation on promotion in government and public sector jobs, had gone a step further and held that the principle of “creamy layer” would even apply to SCs and STs.

Besides, the Union Government, Rathod has named the states also as respondents, seeking notices to them.



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