SC Questions Logic Behind Granting Reservation In Promotion To Creamy Layer Within SC And ST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday questioned the logic behind granting reservation in promotion in government jobs to the creamy layer within the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC and ST) communities. It felt it was necessary to have a quantifiable data and benchmark to determine who among the “socially disadvantaged sections” should be given the benefit of the affirmative action.

Attorney General KK Venugopal, however, told a Chief Justice DipakMisra-led constitution bench that the court should leave this question to the President’s wisdom. He said the President alone has the Constitutional prerogative to determine castes, race, and tribes for classification under SC and ST category.

Venugopal argued for “proportional representation for SC and STs” when it comes to promotion in jobs, besides entry level reservation. He said there has to be adequate representation of the communities that have remained suppressed. Misra asked Venugopal to clarify the concept of “adequacy” in representation, especially in the absence of quantifiable data. “We want to know precisely what is meant by adequacy,” he remarked.

The bench, also comprising justices Kurien Joseph, RohintonNariman, Sanjay KishanKaul and InduMalhotra, is hearing the Centre’s request to refer the top court’s 2006 judgment in the Nagaraj case to a larger bench of nine judges for reconsideration.

According to the government, the verdict that stopped states and the Centre from having reservation in promotion unless it was backed by a data to justify the affirmative action was against the Constitution. “Should the creamy layer be excluded?” justice Joseph asked Venugopal, telling him that the government must address the issue.

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