Verdict on quota vague: Paswan

Who will decide on the creamy layer among the reserved categories of SCs/STs?’ While the Narendra Modi government is keeping mum on last week’s Supreme Court judgment on reservation in promotion that adds a caveat of “creamy layer”, Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan has criticised the judgment, calling it contradictory and vague. The judgment, while putting the onus on providing reservation in promotion on State governments, said that it should not be extended to the “creamy layer” among the reserved categories of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It said that reservation will not have any impact “if only the creamy layer within that class bags all the coveted jobs in the public sector and perpetuate themselves, leaving the rest of the class as backward as they always were.” The judgment defined “creamy layer” as persons “who have come out of untouchability or backwardness by virtue of belonging to the creamy layer.” ‘Not overtly practised’ “Who will decide who is no longer treated as untouchable? On the one hand the judgment says that the castes that are listed as Scheduled Castes as per Constitution should continue as such. In the same breath they are saying that creamy layer among these list of SCs should not be given reservation. The two things are contradictory,” Mr. Paswan said. He said that “untouchability” was not always overtly practised and need not be visible. Inter-caste marriages, for example, still remained a taboo and were a prime example of how untouchability panned in society, he said. Asked if the LJP would take a legal recourse, Mr. Paswan said, “We shall wait and watch.” Mr. Paswan said it was clear that in Class I and Class II posts the reservation quotas had not been completed by any of the State governments or even the Union government. “If the posts reserved for the SCs and the STs are vacant there is no reason why it shouldn’t be filled,” he added.

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