What are the major criticisms against the Supreme Court verdict on reservation in promotions?

The 5 bench constitutional bench of SC has by and large upheld the judgment in the Nagraj case of 2006 and has refused to refer it to larger bench. The Nagraj judgment had imposed restrictions on reservation in promotions.

Criticism against the SC verdict

  • The judgment states that the equality principle demands that “unequals” within the same class should be weeded out. Hence the persons who have come out of untouchability or backwardness by virtue of belonging to the creamy layer should be excluded from the benefit of reservation.
  • The principle of creamy layer ignores the complexities and rationale behind affirmative action. The reservations were provided not due to the economic reasons but for social ones. The caste is so deeply ingrained in the society that the material benefit does not make them immune from the acts like untouchability.
  • The idea of the SC that “creamy layer” has transcended caste discrimination and untouchability betrays a poor understanding of a social milieu still scarred by caste because Caste consciousness is embedded in our culture.
  • The SC has said that as the post gets higher it may be necessary to reduce the number of SC/STs in promotional posts because efficiency of administration has to be looked at every time promotions are made.
  • This has been criticised for the fact that implicit in this observation is the cultural bias that sees the Dalit as less efficient than his peers.

PM himself has said that reservation is here to stay as the dreams of Dr Babasaheb are still incomplete and reservation is an important tool to achieve this. There are fears that judgment of SC is against the principle.


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