Govt to undo demotions of SC/ST employees

Govt to undo demotions of SC/ST employees

Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. DH file photo

The state Cabinet on Monday decided to restore position of thousands of demoted SC/ST employees, as Dalit ministers of the Congress mounted pressure on Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

It was on January 30 that the Cabinet cleared the implementation of a law to protect SC/ST employees whose promotion based on reservation was struck down by the Supreme Court. However, nothing had moved forward since, resulting in Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge raising the issue.

It was decided to restore demotions of SC/ST employees to their earlier cadre and payscale. “For instance, a superintending engineer (SE) who was demoted will be promoted back as SE, but posting will be given later based on availability. The SE can’t be posted back to wherever he or she was, as that post will now be occupied by someone else,” a Cabinet minister explained.

The Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (to the post in the civil services of the state) Act, 2017 - passed when the Congress was in power in November 2017 - will protect consequential seniority accorded to SC/ST employees since April 1978. The implementation of this law, which has received Presidential assent, will be subject to the final outcome of the case before the Supreme Court.

The Cabinet witnessed a heated debate on this as some argued that demotions cannot be reversed without preparing fresh seniority lists. “That is what the Act says, but since we’re in a peculiar situation, it was decided to reverse the demotions,” the minister said. Employees belonging to general merit will be hit (demoted) after seniority lists are prepared, but “their number is very small,” the minister said. “We’ve decided to make sure both SC/ST and general employees are not adversely affected.”

The meeting of the Cabinet went on for more than fours on Monday evening, what with 78 subjects on the agenda.