Special Correspondent

Options to be explored: Manmohan

  • Court has ignored social reality: CPI(M)
  • Very retrograde: CPI

    NEW DELHI: The Government will study the implications of the Supreme Court ruling that the "creamy layer" among the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes be excluded from the purview of reservation in public employment and promotions, and consider the options available, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday.

    Dr. Singh's remarks to presspersons, at an Iftar he hosted here, came amid strong reactions from political parties. Asked how he saw the court order as well as the debate on Special Economic Zones, the Prime Minister said the country consisted of great diversities and the Government would find ways of resolving the seemingly conflicting and complex issues.

    The Congress said it would not comment on the court order since the judgment by a Constitution Bench, which interprets the Constitution, was not a comment but a binding law. However, in a democratic set-up, a debate on the issue would continue in different spheres, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said. The debate could be on to what extent the concept of creamy layer, seen in the context of the Other Backward Classes, could be applied to the SCs and the STs.

    On the different voices among the UPA constituents, he said each party had a view. The Congress had not taken any stand on the issue and it was left to the Government.

    Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu said the party did not want the SCs and the STs excluded from reservation.

    The CPI(M) Polit Bureau said the SCs and the STs were on the lowest rung of the social order. They were being oppressed even today in multiple ways because of their lower caste status. "Hence, they require reservation at all levels without any differentiation within the community."

    The Constitution had no provision for the creamy layer among the SCs and the STs because of the compelling realties of socio-economic oppression and exploitation they suffered. "It is unfortunate that the court has ignored the social reality while pronouncing judgment on such a vital issue."

    The CPI said the judgment was "very retrograde. It is a judicial assault on the most oppressed sections of our society. If it is not reversed, it will tremendously impact in scuttling and eventually dismantling the whole objective of affirmative action and the goal of education and employment for all."

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