Insisting that the 'creamy layer' principle can not be applied to SC/ST employees to deny them quota benefits in government jobs, the Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that people from the community still face a lot discrimination.
"Even today SC/ST people are socially backward and not allowed to marry higher caste people and ride horses. stigma and imprint of backwardness and caste remains with SC/ST community for centuries even if some of them have come up," Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal told the apex court.
The AG's statement was in response to the Supreme Court's question whether affluent people among SC/ST can be denied quota benefits in promotion by applying creamy layer principle?
AG KK Venugopal, which appeared in the top court on the Centre's behalf added that the concept of 'creamy layer' is not applicable for SC/ST and this is not open for judicial review.
On November 15 last year, the Supreme Court had said a five-judge Constitution bench will examine the limited issue of whether the 2006 verdict delivered in M Nagaraj and other versus Union of India was required to be re-looked at or not.
The M Nagaraj verdict had said the creamy layer concept cannot be applied to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for promotions in government jobs like two earlier verdicts -- 1992 Indra Sawhney and others versus Union of India (popularly called Mandal Commission verdict) and 2005 E V Chinnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh -- which dealt with creamy layer in the Other Backward Classes category.
However, on June 5, in a major relief to the Centre, the apex court allowed it to go ahead with reservations in promotion for employees belonging to the SC and ST category in "accordance with law".
The top court took into account the Centre's submissions that the entire process of promotions had come to a "standstill" due to the orders passed by various high courts and the apex court had also ordered for "status quo" in a similar matter in 2015.
(With PTI inputs)