Promotion quota, if passed, to be implemented from 1995

Promotion quota, if passed, to be implemented from 1995

The Centre proposes to implement reservation in promotion for SCs and STs in government jobs with retrospective effect from June, 1995, according to the bill introduced in Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon session.

"It is also necessary to give retrospective effect to the proposed clause (4A) of Article 16 with effect from the date of coming into force of that clause as originally introduced, that is, from the 17th day of June, 1995," the bill states.

This means that the measure will come into effect from 1995 when the Constitution was amended for the purpose of providing reservation in promotions for SCs/STs. The passage of the Constitution amendment bill has been delayed at least till the Winter session. But following opposition by Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena and disruptions caused by NDA over coalgate issue, it could not be taken up for consideration and passage.

SCs and STs have been provided reservation in promotions since 1955. This was discontinued following the judgement in the case of Indra Sawhney wherein it was held that it is beyond the mandate of Article 16(4) of the Constitution.

Subsequently, the Constitution was amended by the Constitution (77th Amendment) Act, 1995 and a new clause (4A) was inserted in Article 16 to enable the government to provide reservation in promotion.

Later, clause (4A) was modified by the Constitution (85th Amendment) Act, 2001 to provide consequential seniority to  SC and ST candidates promoted by giving reservation.

The validity of the Constitutional amendments was challenged before the Supreme Court. The apex court, while deliberating on the issue of validity of Constitutional amendments in the case of M Nagaraj, observed that the concerned state will have to show in each case the existence of the compelling reasons: backwardness, inadequacy of representation and overall administrative efficiency before making provision for reservation in promotion.

Based on the judgement of the Supreme Court, the high courts of Rajasthan and Allahabad struck down the provisions for reservation in promotion in the services of the two states.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court has upheld the decisions of these high courts striking down provisions for reservation in respective states. The latest Constitutional amendment on the issue is aimed at circumventing the Supreme Court order.