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Plea to exclude SC/ST creamy layer from quota

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Reservation provisions, creamy layer, Indra Sawhney case, M. Nagaraj case 2006

Mains level: Changes required in reservation system to provide intended benefits


Demand for creamy layer for SC/ST

  1. The Supreme Court will hear a petition to exclude the affluent members, or the creamy layer, of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes from the benefits of reservation
  2. This is the first time a petition has been filed urging the Supreme Court to introduce the creamy layer concept for the SCs/STs

Arguments given in petition

  1. The affluent among the SCs/STs are syphoning off the reservation benefits given to them by the State government as well as the Central government
  2. The benefits of the reservation policy are not percolating down to the people who are in actual need of them
  3. Around 95% members of these communities are at a disadvantage
  4. The petition argues that no class or caste remained homogeneously backward across time

Background: Indra Sawhney case

  1. The Indra Sawhney case or the Mandal case upheld the caste-based reservation for the OBCs as valid
  2. The court also said the creamy layer of the OBCs (those earning a specified income) should not get the benefits of reservation
  3. The ruling confined the exclusion of the creamy layer to the OBCs and not the SCs/STs

M. Nagaraj case 2006

  1. SC’s Constitution bench had given a judgement that the “means test” should be taken into consideration to exclude the creamy layer from the group earmarked for reservation
  2. Means test is a scrutiny of the value of assets of an individual claiming reservation


Constitutional provisions for reservation

  1. Under Article 15 (3) of the Constitution, any special provision may be made for women and children belonging to all social groups transcending caste, religion etc., for their advancement and welfare in all fields
  2. Under Article 15 (4), special provisions may be made for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward class and for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes
  3. Article 16 (4) permits the state to make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any backward class, which, in the opinion of the state, is not adequately represented in the services under it
  4. The expression “backward class” in this sub-clause is interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean “socially and educationally backward”
  5. Article 46 directs the state to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the “weaker sections of the people”, particularly of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and also directs the state “to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation”
  6. Article 335 states that the claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration in the making of appointments to the services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union and of a State

Minority tag for Hindus: NCM forms committee


 Mains Paper 2: Governance | mechanisms, laws, institutions & Bodies constituted for the protection & betterment of these vulnerable sections

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: National Commission for Minorities, Articles 25 to 30 of Constitution

Mains level: Minority status in India and various provisions related to it


Committee to look into whether Hindus should get minority status

  1. The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has formed a three-member committee to look into whether Hindus should get minority status in eight states where they are not the dominant religious group
  2. A petition has been filed with NCM seeking minority status for Hindus in eight states: J&K, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Punjab

Why this move?

  1. The activist had originally filed a petition in the Supreme Court
  2. The court declined to adjudicate, saying it is not something that the court can decide on
  3. Activist then approached the Commission with his plea

What does petition say?

  1. According to 2011 Census, Hindus are a minitory in eight states
  2. Their minority rights are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population
  3. This is because neither central nor state governments have notified Hindus as a ‘minority’ under Section 2(c) of National Commission for Minority Act
  4. Thus, Hindus are being deprived of their basic rights, guaranteed under Articles 25 to 30 of Constitution

Quota in promotions: Five-judge bench to decide whether 2006 order needs to be revisited

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Mains Paper 2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims level: Article 145

Mains level: This news card talks about whether SC will examine its 2006 judgment on the reservation of SC and ST in promotions or not. Also highlights why a re-examination of the judgment is required



  1. A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court will examine whether its 2006 judgment on the reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotions needs to be revisited.
  2. The matter was referred to the Constitution Bench by a three-judge bench.

What’s the matter?

  1. The Constitution Bench has to decide on the limited issue whether the order in M Nagaraj vs the Union of India needs to be looked at afresh.
  2. The Constitution Bench will not go into the merit of the matter.

The 2006 Judgment

  1. In 2006, a five-judge Constitution Bench had ruled that the state was not bound to provide reservation for SCs/STs in promotions.
  2. But in case any state wished to make such a provision, it was required to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class as well as its inadequate representation in public employment.
  3. Additionally, the state was required to ensure that reservation does not breach the 50 percent ceiling, adversely affect the creamy layer or extend it indefinitely.

The 2015 Petition on which the SC has acted

  1. Acting on a 2015 petition filed by the Tripura government which challenged an order of the Tripura High Court, a two-judge bench referred the matter to a Constitution Bench under Article 145(3).
  2. A petition before the High Court had challenged certain provisions of The Tripura Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of vacancies in services and posts) Act, 1991, saying that under these provisions, the state had granted reservation in violation of rules laid down in M Nagaraj vs Union of India case.

Views of CJI

  1. The CJI is examining the issue whether a two-judge judge bench directly refers a matter to Constitution Bench
  2. According to him a Constitution Bench will first decode if the matter needs to be reconsidered at all

Maharashtra introduces Bill against caste panchayat

  1. News: Maharashtra govt presented the much-awaited bill against caste panchayats in the State
  2. Reason: In recent times, Maharashtra has witnessed an increasing number of incidents of social boycott and violence at the orders of caste panchayats
  3. Provisions: It prohibits social boycott of a person or group of persons including their family members
  4. Significance: Maharashtra will be the first State in the country to enact a law against social boycott of individuals or families by caste panchayats
  5. Maharashtra also took lead in formulating anti superstition law

Genetics throws light on genesis of caste system

  1. Religious diktat enforced more than a millennium ago can have repercussions in genetic make-up of modern-day Indians.
  2. It has found that the country’s billion inhabitants have a far more complex origin than previously imagined.
  3. However, in the complexities of genes lie the secret of one of the country’s most persistent practices: the caste system.
  4. During Gupta period, the social strictures against marriage between caste were enforced.
  5. The block lengths of ancestral genes pointed to the era when mixing of castes ended.
  6. This is the result of a study of numerous communities undertaken by researchers from the National Institute of BioMedical Genomics in WB.

Dalit activism is now a reality across campuses in India

Indian campuses are witnessing unusual caste flare-ups, highlighted by the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad.

  1. The Hindu examines how caste fault lines are muddying higher education.
  2. The government’s ill-crafted budget cuts and erratic decision-making are adding to the grievances of a generation.
  3. Dalit student politics is making its presence felt in many Indian universities.
  4. With the alleged suicide of a Dalit student at the University of Hyderabad, this movement is suddenly in the news.
  5. Reservations and discrimination are major issues for organisations.

Rohith Vemula could not do research as he was embroiled in probes

The final blow was delivered by Human Resource Development Ministry’s letters and reminders to the university.

  1. The research scholar who committed suicide on the University of Hyderabad (UoH) campus, was known as a bright doctoral student who had secured a CSIR-Junior Research Fellowship (JRF).
  2. The day, January 17, that he hanged himself using ASA’s banner, he was on the 14th day of a sleep-in strike against the authorities.
  3. Following his expulsion from the hostel after a series of incidents and probes which took place on campus dating back to June 2015.
  4. Mr. Vemula could neither pursue his research nor political activism because he had been tied down by 3 ongoing investigations.
  5. With Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya referring to the “assault” case on ABVP leader and “anti-national, casteist and extremist” activities on the campus, the matter had already taken a political turn.

Research scholar hangs self after expulsion from Central University

Rohith Vemula hanged himself 12 days after he was expelled from his hostel along with four other researchers.

  1. A Dalit research scholar of the University of Hyderabad (UoH), allegedly hanged himself to death 15 days after he was expelled from his hostel along with four other researchers.
  2. The 5 Dalit students of Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) had been on a sleep-in strike in the open on the campus ever since their expulsion.
  3. In the 5-page suicide note recovered from the room Rohith had mentioned how he always “looked at the stars and dreamt of being a writer” and an established academic.
  4. As per the university orders, 5 students, including Vemula, were denied entry into the hostel and permission to gather together.
  5. Following a scuffle between two students organisations — ABVP and ASA.

Questions (attempt in the comments section)


Critically analyse the effect of social media on functions and performance of government, governance and institutions in India.

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