Quota in promotions: State officers file review plea in SC

Quota in promotions: State officers file  review plea in SC

A group of Karnataka government officers on Friday approached the Supreme Court seeking review of its February 9 judgement that had declared the state government’s decision to grant reservation in promotion for SC/ST employees as ultra vires of the Constitution.

The apex court had said benefits were granted to 1987 cadre engineers by the state government under the Karnataka Determination of Seniority of the Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (To the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Act, without conducting the exercise for determining ‘inadequacy of representation,’ ‘backwardness’ and ‘overall efficiency’.

A batch of officers, after obtaining legal opinion from former SC judge Justice V Gopala Gowda, have filed a review petition. “Section 4 of the Karnataka’s 2002 law giving benefit of consequential seniority was in conformity with Art 16(4A) of the Constitution and the same is not violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution,” the petition filed by advocate Sanjay M Nuli stated.

The officers further contended Article 16 (4) of the Constitution clearly stated that in the services, the Scheduled Castes were to be provided opportunities where they are not adequately represented.

They contended that since 1950, both central and state governments, through various executive orders and instructions provided 15% reservation for SCs and 3% reservation for STs. “Even after 67 years, the Republic of India has not achieved the minimum prescribed percentage of reservation. There are backlogs and vacancies meant for SCs and STs which remain unoccupied or not filled in. In these circumstances it is not open for the courts to make observations relating to inadequacy of representation,” they contended.

Citing the apex court judgement, they also submitted there is no mandate for creating a creamy layer among the SC and ST categories either at the time of initial recruitment or at the time of promotion. In its judgement, the apex court had then said its decision would not affect those officers who have already retired and had taken certain financial benefits.

 “Consequential promotions granted to serving employees, based on consequential seniority benefit, will be treated as ad hoc and liable to be reviewed. Seniority list may be now revised in the light of this judgment within three months from today. Further consequential action may be taken accordingly within next three months,” the bench had directed.

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