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SC stays SC/ST quota in govt job promotions, directs status quo

April 16, 2019 06:34 AM


SC stays SC/ST quota in govt job promotions, directs status quo

New Delhi:

In an important decision, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed reservation in promotion for scheduled castes (SC) and tribes (ST) in government jobs after the Centre and states failed to implement the scheme for want of quantifiable data on adequacy of their representation.

Hearing a batch of 84 petitions filed by the Centre, states and other individuals, a bench of Justices S A Bobde and Abdul Nazeer directed that status quo be maintained till the issue is decided by it, bringing the implementation of reservation in promotion to a halt.

In a significant order, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court in September last year said reservation in promotion could be implemented but ruled that the “creamy layer exclusion” principle, which applied only to other backward castes, could be extended to SCs and STs to deny quota benefits to the “elite” among the two socially underprivileged communities. The court said a study is needed on impact of such promotion on administrative efficiency before granting reservation in promotion.

Thousands of govt posts lying vacant: States to SC

The SC had in September exempted states from collecting quantifiable data on backwardness to justify reservation in promotion by modifying its earlier order in Nagraj case but held that its 2016 verdict was correct in stipulating the condition on the need for quantifiable data on adequacy of representation. The bench had decided the broader issue on reservation in promotion and left it for a regular bench to decide petitions filed by individuals and states on the issue.

The Delhi HC in November directed the Centre to implement the apex court order and grant reservation in promotion in central jobs within three months. Challenging the decision, the Centre rushed to the SC and Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench that it was not possible to implement the order within three months. “The government has to undertake exercise in its all departments to find out adequacy of representation of SC/ST employees,” he said and pleaded the court to stay the HC order..

Advocates appearing for government employees from general category, told the bench that SC verdict was very clear and reservation in promotion could not be implemented without fulfilling the conditions laid down in Jarnail Singh and Nagraj cases.

Lawyers appearing for the states said the SC should adjudicate the issue to put to rest the controversy as thousands of posts were lying vacant due to non-implementation of the policy and pleaded the bench to decide the issue at the earliest. The SC said it was not possible to give an early hearing and posted it for October 15 for final hearing.


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