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'If it is creamier after Rs 4.5 lakh, then raise tax limit to Rs 4.5 lakh'
October, 04th 2008

Ashoka Kumar Thakur, a lawyer and a petitioner in the Supreme Court case against the 27 per cent OBC quota in educational institutions, says that the increase in the income ceiling for creamy layer would hurt the poor among the OBC most.

Your petition had sought exclusion of the creamy layer from the OBC quota. What do you think of the increase in the cut-off in income ceiling of creamy layer?

It de facto means inclusion of the creamy layer. How many people earn Rs 4.5 lakh a year? The decision would hurt the poor among the OBC most and almost nullify the benefits of quota for them as the well-to-do among them grabs all.

Will the Supreme Court look at it as a contempt of its judgement?

It dilutes the whole spirit of the ruling. However, the government has every right to decide income limits for the poor and rich. I dont think the court would say anything. I had asked so-called OBC leaders like Lalu Prasad and others if they needed quotas. They need it just for the votes.

What do you propose to do now?

I had agitated against the inclusion of creamy layer in OBC quotas earlier when Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and later Tamil Nadu and Kerala tried to open quota to all. I still believe that the benefits should reach only the deserving and not spread thin to all and sundry. We will examine the decision and see what can be done.

May be the limit of Rs 4.5 lakh would look all right after a few years?

Why then is our income-tax ceiling less than Rs 2.5 lakh? Why dont they (the government) raise it to Rs 4.5 lakh if the creamy layer starts there?

What would be the increase in the number of beneficiaries after this change in the income limit?

I can only say that everyone except the poor among the OBC would benefit now. I have always believed that reservation is a churning and not the permanent solution. Unless poverty and illiteracy is not removed, the poor among the OBC will never be able to make use of these quotas.


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