Top court: staff can move KAT on seniority issues

Top court: staff can move KAT on seniority issues

The bench clarified that the issue of consequential seniority would not be touched upon.

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered that the Karnataka state Administrative Tribunal (KAT) can hear and grant relief to state employees affected by the government’s exercise of revising seniority list in the wake of the apex court’s judgement in B K Pavithra case.

The top court had, in its judgement on February 9, 2017, struck down provisions of the 2002 Karnataka law on reservation in promotion to SC/ST staff and directed the state to revise the seniority list.

On a plea made by Bhagoji T Khanapure, a bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra, however, clarified that the issue of consequential seniority would not be touched upon as decided in the judgement.

Senior advocate P S Patwalia and advocate Shailesh Madiyal, representing the petitioner, relied upon the top court’s May 14 order , stating that it was open for an employee to approach the tribunal and raise any other issue before it, except the question of consequential seniority decided in the February 9 judgement.

Agreeing to their suggestion, the bench said, “We follow the (previous) order and only add that it will also be open to the tribunal to grant interim relief, after hearing both sides, on issues that arise in the writ petition except the issue of consequential seniority decided in Pavithra’s case.”

Khanapure, who was promoted to the post of drugs controller, had been reverted. He had joined as drug inspector on October 10, 1991, in the health and family welfare service department.

In his plea, he contended that the state government, contrary to the apex court’s judgement, revised the seniority list on March 14, 2018, doing away with consequential seniority based on reservation and reservation in promotion altogether as per the government order of April 27, 1978, without granting him any hearing.

He submitted that he had approached KAT, which declined to entertain his plea due to a restraint order issued by the apex court.

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