5-judge bench to review order on SC/ST promotion

5-judge bench to review order on SC/ST promotion

The Supreme Court's Constitution bench  will decide if its previous judgement on the reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs should be re-examined.  

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan referred the matter relating to  the re-examination of the apex court's 2006 landmark judgement in 'M Nagaraj Versus Union of India' to the Constitution bench.

The court had then held that the state has to undertake the exercise of gathering quantifiable data and consider factors like overall efficiency, backwardness and inadequacy of representation if it wanted to grant reservation  in promotion to the SCs/STs. It had also ruled that the principle of the creamy layer would not apply in the case of the SCs/STs.

The development is important as Karnataka's 2002 law for reservation in promotion to SC/ST employees was declared null and void in February by the apex court's separate bench that held that the state did not undertake any exercise to gather quantifiable data and inadequacy of representations. The court had said the consequential promotions granted to serving employees, based on seniority benefit, will be treated as ad hoc and liable to be reviewed.

In a matter arising out of Maharashtra, Attorney General K K Venugopal on Wednesday submitted before the court that a bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R Banumathi had on Tuesday sent a similar question for consideration before the Constitution bench.

The CJI's  bench said it would send the matter to the Constitution bench to consider the limited issue if the 2006 verdict can be re-examined.  

Dealing with a batch of petitions relating to Tripura, Justices Joseph and Banumathi had noted that a question of "further and finer interpretation on the application of Article 16(4A) (reservation in promotion to the SCs/STs, if not adequately represented) has also arisen in this case".

It was argued that the test of backwardness cannot be applied in the case of the SCs/STs in view of the apex court's judgements in Indira Sawhney (Mandal Commission, 1992) and Chinnaiah (2005).

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