SC admits plea challenging creamy layer criteria

The Supreme Court on Wednesday admitted a bunch of petitions challenging the Centre`s decision to fix Rs 4.50 lakh as the minimum annual income for the people among Other Backward Classes (OBCs) to be regarded as "creamy layer".

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2010, 21:12 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday admitted a bunch of petitions challenging the Centre`s
decision to fix Rs 4.50 lakh as the minimum annual income for
the people among Other Backward Classes (OBCs) to be regarded
as "creamy layer" or elite who would not be eligible for
various benefits.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia decided to
examine the rationale behind the Centre`s October 13, 2008,
order that raised the income criterion to Rs 450,000 from
Rs 250,000.

While admitting the petitions challenging the income
criteria for determining the creamy layer, the Bench, also
comprising Justices KS Radhakrihnan and Swatanter Kumar,
asked the Centre to put on affidavit the assumptions on the
basis of inflation etc that was considered for determining the
figure Rs 4.50 lakhs.

The apex court had on December 15, 2008, issued a
notice to the Centre on the petitions challenging the revision
of the income criterion for determining creamy layer among
Other Backward Classes for admission to educational institutions.

Noted academician PV Indiresan and the others,
including civil rights body Nair Service Society of Kerala,
have questioned the government notification.

The notification provided that a backward category
person would be regarded as an elite or creamy lawyer within
the community only if his or her annual income is at least
Rs 450,000 or above. In that case, the person would lose
reservation benefits, including those in state jobs or
admission in educational institutions.

The government changed the income criterion after the
apex court`s April 10 ruling.

A Constitution bench of the apex court had on April
10, while upholding the law for 27 percent quota for OBC
category students in state-run institutions of higher
learning, stipulated that students belonging to the `creamy
layer` have to be kept out of the quota.

Arguing for Indiresan, senior counsel KK Venugopal
said the government`s October 13 notification would defeat the
very purpose of the April 10 ruling.

Venugopal argued that the notification would ensure
that no person among the backward category is dubbed as
belonging to the `creamy layer` and stand to lose reservation
benefits as envisaged by the apex court ruling.

PTI