Creamy layer concept a ploy to deny reservation, says Ramaswamy

LEADER'S PORTRAITS: People buying photographs of B.R. Ambedkar at the venue of the seminar in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.  

Special Correspondent

Reservation is not charity but a right, says Ramaswamy

Bangalore: The former Supreme Court judge K. Ramaswamy has described as a ploy the recent Supreme Court decision to exclude the creamy layer among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from the benefits of reservation.

Speaking at a seminar organised by the Karnataka Rajya Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (KR-DSS), Mr. Ramaswamy, who was also a member of the National Human Rights Commission, said the orders of the court would, in effect, result in reverting the reserved seats to the general pool and would also deny admission to SC/ST candidates to the Class I employment category.

As per statistics, the only category under which the SC/ST quota is filled now is that of Class IV employees.

On the 50 per cent ceiling on reservation, he said it was unjustified since Dalits made up 80 per cent of India's population and forward castes only 20 per cent. "Reservation is not charity but a right," Mr. Ramaswamy said, and called upon Dalits to exert pressure against the decision by resorting to agitation.

Ravivarma Kumar, former chairperson of the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission, said the creamy layer concept "cuts at the root of the quality of representation" by eliminating the best of Dalits from competing and the 50 per cent ceiling "cut at the quantity of reservation."

Citing a series of judicial decisions, Mr. Kumar said the judiciary had repeatedly undermined the ideal of social justice enshrined in the Constitution.

"Can the judiciary be an island free from social conflicts," he asked, arguing for bringing the judicial system within the parameters of social justice.

He pointed out that countries such as South Africa had ensured adequate representation to blacks and women in the judiciary.

Agriculture Minister Bandeppa Kashempur and D.G. Sagar, state convener of the KR-DSS, were present.