SC/ST promotion: SC to hear Centre's plea against quota quashing

SC to hear case today

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday consider a plea by the Union government against the Delhi High Court's order, quashing August 13, 1997 notification for all government departments to provide reservation in promotion to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes employees.

A vacation bench of justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan allowed a plea by Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh to urgently consider the special leave petition filed against the high court's judgement of August 23, 2017.

The Delhi High Court has ruled that the Government could not blindly provide for reservation in promotions, in favour of SCs and STs unless, prior thereto, the requisite exercise, to acquire quantifiable data regarding inadequacy of representation of SCs and STs in public services was undertaken.

"List the matter tomorrow i.e. Tuesday,” the bench directed as the Centre questioned the high court's judgement passed on a writ petition filed by NGO All India Equity Forum and others.

The high court has restrained the government from granting any reservation, in promotion to Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes, in exercise of the power conferred by Article 16 (4A) of the Constitution, without, in the first instance, carrying out the necessary preliminary exercise of acquiring quantifiable data indicating inadequacy of representation.

There has to be evaluation of the situation by taking into consideration the said data, along with the competing considerations of backwardness and overall efficiency in administration and arriving at an empirical decision on that basis.

Notably, the Supreme Court had in the Indira Sawhney (Mandal) case (9-judge bench), permitted the reservation for the SC/STs, in promotion to continue for a period of five years from November 16, 1992. Subsequently, the Constitution was amended and Article 16(4A) was incorporated, enabling the state to provide for reservation, in matters of promotion, in favour of the SC/STs if they are not adequately represented in the services.

By a decision of the Supreme Court in 'M Nagaraj and others vs Union of India and others' (2006), the constitutional validity of Article 16(4), (4-A) and (4-B) was upheld.

However, consequent to the pronouncement of law in M Nagaraj, there were a slew of decisions by the Supreme Court stating that the government could not blindly provide for reservation in promotions, in favour of SCs and STs unless, prior thereto, the requisite exercise, to acquire quantifiable data regarding inadequacy of representation of SCs and STs in public services was undertaken.

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SC/ST promotion: SC to hear Centre's plea against quota quashing

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