Set­back for so­cial jus­tice

The apex court’s de­ci­sion to ex­tend the con­cept of creamy layer to S.CS and S.TS in pro­mo­tions could re­verse sev­eral years of gains in so­cial up­lift.


THE ob­ses­sion with so­cial strat­i­fi­ca­tion and the in­abil­ity to let go of feu­dal hi­er­ar­chies had led to the cre­ation of the con­cept of “creamy layer”, un­der the garb of so­cial jus­tice.

The creamy layer ar­gu­ment is as prob­lem­atic now as it was dur­ing the time of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Man­dal Com­mis­sion re­port, which rec­om­mended reser­va­tion for Other Backward Classes (OBCS) in ed­u­ca­tion and govern­ment em­ploy­ment. In­tro­duced into le­gal par­lance by anti-reser­va­tion­ists in the 1970s, the term first came into promi­nence in 1992 in Indira Sawh­ney vs Union of In­dia, or the Man­dal case as it is known; sub­se­quently, the Supreme Court de­fined the creamy layer on the ba­sis of 11 cri­te­ria.

AT A Rashtriya Dalit Pan­chayat rally for reser­va­tion in pro­mo­tion in govern­ment jobs, in New Delhi. A file pic­ture.

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