M A I N   N E W S

SC okays quota minus creamy layer

New Delhi, April 10
Settling the controversial reservation issue in education, the Supreme Court today upheld the law providing 27 per cent quota for OBCs in IITs, IIMs and other central educational institutions and said the “creamy layer” cannot enjoy the benefit.

"The creamy layer among the OBC cannot take benefit of 27 per cent quota in central educational institutions as they are economically advanced and educationally forward.

With the court clearing the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, the elite institutions may have to implement the quota in the 2008-09 academic session.

The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan unanimously held that “creamy layer” must be excluded from the socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs) and there should be a periodic review after five years on continuing with the quota.

The Bench upheld the validity of the Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act 2005 empowering the Centre to come out with the special law for OBC reservation in educational institutions of higher learning.

The members of the Bench, which delivered four separate judgments, were unanimous that the 93rd amendment and the 2006 legislation providing for the quota were “not violative of the basic structure of the Constitution”.

The only divergent view was relating to the constitutional validity of the 93rd amendment in relation with private unaided institutions, with four judges leaving the issue open since none of those institutions had approached the court.

However, Justice Dalveer Bhandari held that “imposing reservation on unaided institutions violates the basic structure by stripping citizens of their fundamental rights under Article 19 (1) (g) to carry on an occupation”.

With today’s verdict, reservation in higher educational institutions will go up to 49.5 per cent.

Justice Dalveer Bhandari in his judgment pitched for excluding children of former and sitting MPs and MLAs from taking the benefit of OBC quota.

The court held that for applying the parameter for identification of SEBC, the creamy layer has to be excluded as per the office memorandum of September 8, 1993, which included wards of persons holding Constitutional posts and government officials under various categories.

“The plea of the petitioner that the legislation itself was intended to please a section of the community as part of the vote catching mechanism is not a legally acceptable plea and it is only to be rejected,” Justice Balakrishnan said.

Justice Arijit Pasayat said the Centre should examine the desirability of fixing a cut off mark for OBC candidates. “Identification of backward class is not done solely based on caste. Other parameters are followed in identifying the backward class. Therefore the Act is not invalid for this reason,” the Chief Justice said.

“Determination of backward class cannot be exclusively based on caste. Poverty, social backwardness, economic backwardness, all are criteria for determination of backwardness,” Justice Balakrishnan said and Justice R.V. Raveendran shared his view.

On the same issue Justices Pasayat and C.K. Thakker said that determination of backward class could be done by excluding the creamy layer for which necessary data must be obtained by the Centre and the state government.

“So far as determination of backward classes is concerned, a notification should be issued by the Centre. Such notification is open to challenge on the ground of wrongful exclusion and inclusion,” Justice Pasayat said. — PTI

SC on creamy layer

The “creamy layer” among the OBC cannot take benefit of 27 per cent quota in central educational institutions as “they are economically advanced and educationally forward”, the Supreme Court held today.

In its landmark judgment, it said the government should use the 1993 memorandum for identifying the creamy layer, which says a person having gross annual income of Rs 2.5 lakh or more should be excluded from the benefits of reservation.

The five-judge Constitution Bench was unanimous on the view that the “creamy layer” or the affluent section among the OBC, has to be excluded for the benefit of reservation.

“If the creamy layer principle is not applied, it could easily be said that all castes that have been included among the socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) have been included exclusively on the basis of caste,” Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said.

Justice Arijit Pasayat said: “Unless creamy layer is removed, OBCs cannot exercise their group right”.

“In sum, creamy layer inclusion violates the right to equality, Justices Pasayat and Thakker said rejecting the Centre’s contention that the creamy layer should be included to ensure that enough qualified candidates fill 27 per cent seats reserved for OBCs.



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