Delhi High Court Slams Govt’s ‘Creamy Layer’ Criteria
The Delhi high court has slammed the Centre’s method of calculating the “creamy layer” for wards of persons from “Other Backward Classes” working in PSUs — a key reason behind the rejection of many OBC aspirants for IAS and other elite services over the last five years.
In a crucial judgment last week, the HC directed the Centre to recalculate the “creamy layer” for petitioners within eight weeks – reviving hopes that they may be able to join the civil services after being rejected earlier.
“Creamy layer” pertains to better off individuals among OBCs, who are ineligible for Mandal reservations.
The Delhi High Court judgement has major implications for OBC aspirants for central services. While the order pertains to 12 OBC aspirants who cleared UPSC’s Civil Services Examination in 2015 before being turned down, it may boost the case of, by an estimate, over 60 candidates who have been rejected in last few years.
More crucially, it may have a serious bearing on the way the Centre calculates “creamy layer” for OBC children with PSU background — alleged to be “discriminatory” when compared to “backwards” employed in central and state governments.
The Delhi HC order follows a similar one by the Madras High Court in August 2017, directing the Centre to use the same formula for both categories of OBCs.
The controversy revolves around differing principles applied to determine “creamy layer”.
According to government guidelines, while Group A and Group B are ineligible for Mandal quotas, others are eligible if their annual income from other sources does not exceed Rs 8 lakh. The annual income does not include salaries of parents.
While DoPT has been determining the “creamy layer” for PSU background by including the salaries of parents, it has been excluding the salaries of parents employed in central or state governments – putting the first category at a disadvantage.
The DoPT told the Delhi HC that “creamy layer” for PSU candidates follows the principle spelt out in its communication of October 14, 2004. On the other hand, the petitioners argued that the October 14 order “discriminates the employees of PSUs vis-a-vis the government employees, and ought to be quashed”. In its order, the high court agreed with the petitioners.
In August 2017, the Madras HC had ruled that if salary of parents employed in government is not a criteria for assessing “creamy layer”, the salary of a PSU employee “as a test for identifying creamy layer brings in the element of hostile discrimination”.
Though the Centre has appealed against the Madras HC order in the Supreme Court, it is to be seen how it reacts to the Delhi high court judgement.
The confusion over “creamy layer” is a result of the Centre’s failure to determine the posts in PSUs as falling under Group A, B, C and D as happens in the government – a process called “equivalence of posts”.
Source : TOI