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Creamy layer: Attorney General’s opinion sought

Wednesday 15 November 2006

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI : The Group of Ministers (GoM) on Dalit Affairs has sought the Attorney General’s opinion on the recent Supreme Court judgment, which held that the "creamy layer" among the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes be excluded from the purview of reservation in public employment and promotions.

"We have sought the opinion of the Attorney General before taking any decision on the issue," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the GoM, told reporters after its meeting here on Tuesday evening.

GoM may meet again

The GoM, constituted a day after the judgment was pronounced, is expected to meet again in a few days to decide on the next course of action.

The Government, which wants the "creamy layer" also to benefit from reservation, could either move a larger Bench for a review or bring in a Constitution amendment. The GoM felt that the nine-judge Bench in the Indira Sawhney case (Mandal case) made no mention of exclusion of the "creamy layer" among the SC/ST and it was applicable only to the OBCs.

Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, said the GoM was of the opinion that "best possible safeguards" would be taken to ensure that the "creamy layer" was included for purposes of reservation. A Constitution amendment was not ruled out.

Committed to quota

"The Government is committed to providing reservation to the SC/ST and the OBCs."

Mr. Paswan also favoured early passage of the Reservation for SC/ST in Posts/Services Bill, pending with the Social Justice and Welfare Ministry.

The GoM includes Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Mr. Paswan, Law Minister H. R. Bhardwaj, Tribal Affairs Minister P. R. Kyndiah, Minister of State for Personnel Suresh Pachauri, Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes and Social Justice Minister Meira Kumar.

See online : The Hindu

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