Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The creamy layer verdict

Two op-eds raise interesting points about the Supreme Court verdict that suggested excluding the 'creamy layer' from SC/ST quotas.

A former Secretary to the Government of India (whose name doesn't appear in the online version), in ToI, looks at the legal/constitutional issues:

It is necessary to protect SCs and STs from future onslaughts by those who have not cared to understand the social and historical background of the caste system with specific reference to SCs and STs.

Rekha Pappu, M. Madhava Prasad, K. Satyanarayana & Susie Tharu, writing in the Hindu, examine the sociological aspects (their article reads like an academic paper!):

... The elaboration provided by the Constitution Bench on questions of discrimination, backwardness, affirmative action, and "creamy layer" is of critical importance. Among the many reasons why this is so, three are worth mentioning here. One, the ruling explicitly recognises and addresses itself to the polarisation of caste interests within our society rather than reiterating the worn-out slogan of a homogenous society. Two, it draws upon a terminology that currently dominates discussions not only in the courts but also among policy-makers, academics, and mediapersons. Three, it more clearly than ever before legitimises the grievances of the "upper castes" even as it seeks to checkmate the pro-backward caste moves of Parliament.