Promotions: Apex Court notice to state on 'unfair' revision of seniority list

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Karnataka government on a plea by a group of state employees, contending there was the unfair implementation of the apex court's judgement delivered on February 9 last year on revising seniority list, after invalidating the state law on promotion to the SC/ST employees.

The top court, however, reiterated that its verdict in the B K Pavitra case (on the reservation in promotion to the SC/STs) has to be complied with.

A bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and R F Nariman sought the response from the state government on a special leave petition filed by Baby S Janaki and others. "In the meantime, the judgment of this Court in (Pavitra case) to be complied with but there will be no reversion of the petitioner(s) in this case," the court said.

Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and V Lakashminarayana challenged the Karnataka High Court's judgement of October 17, 2017. The HC had then declined to interfere in the matter, saying such an exercise would be impermissible in the view of the apex court's judgement.

In their plea, the employees sought a stay of the notifications issued by the state government on May 8, last pertaining to revising of the seniority list.

The petitioners claimed the lists prepared by different department heads have been found not in accordance with the B K Pavitra case. They demanded that the promotions which have been saved by the top court in the Indira Sawhney (Mandal) case to November 15, 1997, should be protected. The reservation policy has been totally denied with effect from April 27, 1978, which was not the direction of the top court, they said. A two-judge bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit had on February 9, last declared the Karnataka law as 'ultra vire' to right to equality and right to equality 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.

On April 2, the court had said the Karnataka government has to take consequential action within one month after having revised seniority list of its employees. It had explained that a previous order passed by a separate bench granting status quo in the matter has stood modified on March 20, this year.

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