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Rationalisation of creamy layer in employment of OBC in Government service

The Law kept Creamy layer out of quota benefits


The concept of the creamy layer was first used 1992 Supreme Court judgment in the Indira Sawhney vs Union of India case on Mandal Commission recommendation. It is a political term used to refer the member of backward classes who are highly educated and have strong financial and economical background. This term creamy layer is a subcategory in other backward classes which is used to determine the reservation criteria. When this concept was introduced in 1993 then GOI has decided that OBC members whose annual family income is less then ₹ 1 lakh will fall in the category of non-creamy layer people. Later this limit was revised to Rs 2.5 lakh in 2004 and then to 4.5 lakh(2004) then to 6 lakh(2013) and finally to 8 lakh in 2017. The noncreamy layer people avails all the reservation benefits because of being considered as socially, economically, and financially backward. This reservation some percentages of the total seats are kept for them in all educational institutes’ government jobs for their upliftment.


The central government decided to reserve 27% of the total seats in all government-owned institutions for other backward classes on the recommendation of the Mandal Commission. This order was challenged by Indra Sawhney in Supreme Court and the decision of giving 27% reservation in Central government services was upheld. After a long legal battle, the court held by justice Ram Nandan Prasad identified the creamy layer among OBCs. after the commission approved the central government order of providing reservation by excluding creamy layer people.


Reviewing the Supreme Court judgment, the Department of Personnel and Training has laid down categories under the creamy layer in 1993. According to the norms of 1993 sons and daughters of Class I Officers of All India Central and State Services and Class II Officers of Central and State Services employees of Public Sector Undertakings etc. and armed forces comes in the category of creamy layer and therefore, they are not eligible for reservation benefits in any government institutions or government jobs. The order additionally protected in the creamy layer little children of humans with a gross annual earnings of Rs 1 lakh above or owning wealth above the exemption restrict as prescribed beneath neath the Wealth Tax Act for a length of 3 consecutive years. It, however, clarified that income from salaries and agricultural land will not be clubbed, and asserted that the income criteria in terms of rupee will be modified taking into account the change in its value every three years.


The central government has revised the 1993 norms of the creamy layer and has done a few changes.

The first change counted in this norm booklet is that from now onwards all taxable income including salary be counted in computing the gross annual income.

The income gap has been increased from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 12 lakh in 2019. This is in tandem with a suggestion submitted in 2011 with the aid of using the National Commission for Backward Classes. It had proposed that earnings standards for the creamy layer ought to be extraordinary as gross earnings stages had been decreased in rural regions. It proposed Rs nine lakh for rural and Rs 12 lakh for city regions as earnings restrict for creamy layer classification. However, the notion became now no longer accepted.

Include all those with landholdings of over 10 hectares of which at least 4 hectares are under irrigation, in the creamy layer.


The M. Nagaraj case judgment was challenged in the Jarnail Singh case via two reference orders, the latest one having been issued in November 2017, stating that it needed to be referred to a seven-judge bench.

The top court refused to refer it to a larger bench, asserting that even though it had not expressly chosen to apply the creamy layer principle to SCs and STs in its verdict in the Indira Sawhney case, the principle can still be applied because of the principles of equality enshrined in Constitution.

The court also asserted that the SC and high courts would be well within their jurisdiction to exclude the creamy layer from getting reservations, rejecting the central government’s submissions that only the Parliament can exclude or include people from SC/ST lists.

The whole object of reservation is to see that backward classes of citizens move forward so that they may march hand in hand with other citizens of India on an equal basis. This will not be possible if only the creamy layer within that class bag all the coveted jobs in the public sector and perpetuate themselves, leaving the rest of the class as backward as they always were,” it observed.


Coming to the conclusion, the purpose of OBC reservation is to uplift the non-creamy layer or the most deserving candidates among the backward class. Except some privileged people most of the OBC category people come under non creamy layer. However many eligible candidates have no idea about this creamy and non-creamy layer category and therefore they don’t know how to get the certificates and avail the opportunities that government have provided them.to make matters worse, corrupt and ignorant bearcats often deny deserving candidates .By going through the provision of the government regarding non creamy layer criteria in detail, you can your deserving quota without any harassment from authorities.


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