SC/ST promotions: apex court gives K'taka 45 days to revise seniority list

Things will be clear in 3 months, state govt tells Supreme Court

SC/ST promotions: apex court gives K'taka 45 days to revise seniority list

The Supreme Court on Monday told the Karnataka government that its proposed law on promotions to SC/ST employees cannot come as an excuse for not complying to its February 9 judgement for revising the seniority list.

The court, however, gave one-and-a-half month more time to the state government to prepare a revised seniority list of its employees in view of its judgement in B K Pavitra case that quashed the 2002 law granting reservation in promotion to the SC/ST staff.

A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit, hearing a batch of contempt petition against top state officials, put the matter for further consideration after March 15.

Senior advocate Basava Prabhu Patil, appearing for the state government, sought three more months time for the purpose.

"Okay, we will grant you one-and-half month. The process should not be held back where seniority list is finalised. The state is free to proceed," the bench said.

Patil said that the state has prepared a revised seniority list of 41 departments after the verdict. He said, as the apex court's judgement quashing the state law on the promotion to the SC/STs was based on absence of quantifiable data, the government formed a panel which gathered relavant information. Based on the panel report, the state Assembly unanimously passed the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (To posts in the Civil Services of the State) Bill, 2017, which is pending before the President.

"The process of revising the list is underway. There is a legislation pending before the President. Either way things would be clear within three months time," he said.

The bench, however, said, "It is made clear that any proposed legislation will be no justification not to carry out the judgment of this court. Needless to say that if any legislation is brought on the subject, the same can be applied, subject to its validity, as and when such legislation is made. We do not express any opinion with regard to permissibility of such a legislation at this stage."

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for a group of affected employees, submitted a separate bench had on January 22 ordered status quo in the matter and referred the matter to the Chief Justice for appropriate orders.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for the other batch of employees, sought contempt action against the state government. He submitted the separate bench's order was confined to 18 employees who had filed the writ petitions. "The February 9 judgement still survived. The KPTCL has revised the list but not published it while the PWD has not undertaken the exercise at all," he submitted.

In its judgement, the apex court had said consequential promotions granted to serving employees, based on consequential seniority benefit, will be treated as ad hoc and liable to be reviewed. It ordered for revising the seniority list in the light of this judgment within three months and further consequential action within next three months. The court had subsequently granted time till January 15 to the state government.

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