Promotions: SC not to dilute quota rule

Apex court asks states to gather data on representation

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere with the conditions for providing reservation in promotion for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, saying it can’t lay down a new yardstick as the criteria are already specified in the earlier judgments of the Supreme Court in 2006 and 2018.
A bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice B.R. Gavai declined to touch the criteria laid down in the Constitution Bench decision of M. Nagaraj (2006) and Jarnail Singh (2018) for granting the benefit of reservation in promotion to SC/ST employees.

The court fixed February 24 for considering the matters related to different states and the Centre’s plea for consideration, and agreed to examine contempt plea against the Centre for going ahead with the promotions.

The top court ruled that the collection of quantifiable data is mandatory, apart from assessment of inadequacy of representation after a periodic review. Review period should be determined by the Centre, it said.

The top court asked states to collect this quantifiable data reflecting on adequacy or inadequacy of SC/ST candidates in the jobs before implementing reservation in promotion for them. The court gave broad parameters on reservation in promotions for SCs and STs employees and will decide the validity of Centre and state government policies for reservation in promotion on those parameters.

The court said the Nagaraj judgment in 2006 had laid down conditions like collection of quantifiable data, adequacy of representation and overall impact on efficiency of administration, for granting reservations in promotion. The court had held that Nagaraj would have a prospective effect.
It also struck down a 2019 judgment passed by a bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandachud as “bad in law,” noting that “the conclusion of this court in B.K. Pavitra II judgment with regard to collection of quantifiable data is in contradiction to the Nagaraj judgment.”

“Taking into account the data pertaining to a ‘group’, which would be an amalgamation of certain cadres in service, would not give the correct picture of the inadequacy of representation of SCs and STs in the cadre in relation to which reservation in promotions is sought to be made. Rosters are prepared cadre-wise and not group-wise,” the bench said.

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