SC declines interim order for quota in promotions

SC declines interim order for quota in promotions

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would not pass any order for now on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of a new law passed to safeguard the reservation in promotions to Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes (SC/STs) employees in Karnataka.

The court said it had already requested the Karnataka's Advocate General Uday Holla on July 27 to maintain status quo and the state government had complied to it.

“We are conscious (of the situation). That is why we requested Advocate General last time. We would not like to pass any interim order,” a bench of Justices Abhay Manohar Sapre and U U Lalit said.

Senior advocates Ranjit Kumar and Kiran Suri, along with advocate Kumar Parimal and others, representing the PIL petitioners and others, contended that the matter should now be heard as the pleadings – filing of the counter and rejoinder – are complete.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the SC/ST employees and senior counsel V Laxminarayana, representing some other employees, pointed out that the state government had earlier filed an additional chief secretary's report, pointing out that all the infirmities noticed in the February 9, 2017, judgement has been taken care of. The counsel also said the status quo affected the staff from the SC/ST communities.

“At this juncture, we will not pass any order,” the bench once again said and posted the matter for detailed hearing on August 28.

A circular issued by Karnataka's Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar on August 3 was also furnished to the court wherein the instructions were issued that till the time matter was decided by the top court, no promotion or demotion of the staff would take place.

A batch of separate writ petitions has been filed by Shivakumar K V and B K Pavitra and others. The petitioners sought a declaration that the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (To the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Act, 2017 was ultra vires of the Constitution for being in direct conflict with the judgement of the apex court passed on February 9, last year.

The apex court had on February 9, 2017 struck down reservation in promotions for the SC/ST employees. The new legislation came into existence after its publication in gazette on June 23.

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