SC orders status quo on redo of seniority list of govt staff

Last Updated 27 January 2018, 19:18 IST

The Supreme Court has ordered status quo on the Karnataka government's notifications on revision of seniority list of state employees in line with the apex court court's judgement of February 9, 2017. Hundreds of employees from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes faced prospects of demotion after the judgement in the B K Pavitra case.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta directed status quo in the matter after admitting a batch of special leave petitions filed by R T Chandramouli and others, who worked as engineers in Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited.

The court has also sought response from the Karnataka government as the petitioners sought stay on the notifications issued by the state government on May 8, last pertaining to publishing a provisional seniority list.

"Issue notice. Status quo, as on today, shall be maintained by the parties," the bench directed in its order passed on January 22.

The court, however, referred the batch of petitions challenging the notifications for publishing the seniority list of Karnataka government employees on the basis of the apex court's decision in the
B K Pavitra case pertaining to promotion of SC and ST staff, to the Chief Justice of India.

"In view of the order passed in Civil Appeal Nos, 4562-4564 of 2017, the matters may be placed before Hon'ble the Chief Justice for appropriate orders," the bench said.

Those civil appeals related to a similar issue arising out in Tripura. Considering the Tripura matter as well as another batch of petitions from Maharashtra, the CJI-led bench had in November ordered for letting a Constitution bench examine if there was a need to re-visit the 2006 judgement in M Nagaraj versus Union of India case which formed the basis of the
B K Pavitra judgement.

The apex court had on February 9, 2017, in the B K Pavitra and others vs Union of India and others case had directed for revising the seniority list of the state employees in Karnataka. The court had then declared the Karnataka law as ultra vires of right to equality in general and particularly in matters of public employment under the Constitution for doing away with the 'catch up' rule and providing for consequential seniority to persons belonging to SCs and STs on promotion against roster points. Notably, a separate bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit, that delivered the Pavitra judgement, is examining the issue of implementing the verdict. A batch of contempt petitions has also been filed against the state government.

In the SLPs, Chandramouli and others challenged the October 17, 2017 judgement of the Karnataka High Court's division bench. The HC had then declined to interfere into the controversy saying it was impermissible in view of the judgment of the apex court in the Pavitra case.

(Published 27 January 2018, 19:00 IST)

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