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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Centre Advocates Sub-Classification of SC/STs in Supreme Court

IndiaCentre Advocates Sub-Classification of SC/STs in Supreme Court

On Wednesday, the Centre advocated in the Supreme Court for the sub-classification of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, aiming to ensure that reservation benefits reach the most deserving individuals within these communities, rather than being monopolized by what is often referred to as the “creamy layer”.

Presently, sub-classification and the concept of the creamy layer are applicable solely to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the government, presented this argument before a seven-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud. Mehta emphasized that enabling sub-classification would better allocate reserved quotas within the SCs/STs, thereby promoting social justice and economic mobility among the most disadvantaged segments.

Mehta stressed the importance of sub-classification in ensuring a trickle-down effect of reservations and highlighted the need to address the persisting inequality within reserved categories.

Referring to the 2020 Davinder Singh case, Mehta underscored the judiciary’s previous support for sub-classification to eliminate the creamy layer within SCs and STs.

The Centre referenced several past Supreme Court judgments dating back to 1950, highlighting concerns over the creamy layer benefitting excessively and hindering the empowerment of genuinely disadvantaged individuals.

Mehta also referenced the 2018 Jarnail Singh case, which emphasized that reservation objectives are undermined when only the creamy layer secures coveted positions in the public sector.

The Centre clarified that advocating for sub-classification within SCs and STs does not undermine the President’s authority under Articles 341 and 342 to grant SC-ST status to specific communities. Mehta emphasized that sub-classification does not interfere with the finality of determinations under these articles.

While the Centre expressed its support for sub-classification within SCs and STs, it emphasized that this stance does not dilute the President’s powers or the sanctity of constitutional provisions related to reservation.

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