SC reserves order on plea for post-based quota

The Supreme Court, on Monday, reserved its order on a plea by a group of general category employees for a direction to the Karnataka government for applying ‘post-based reservation’ and the principle of creamy layer at entry level in public employment as per the judgement in the B K Pavitra case.

A special bench of Justices U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud wrapped up the hearing on a miscellaneous application by the general category candidates.

Senior advocates Rajeev Dhavan, Shekhar Naphade and advocate Kumar Parimal, arguing for the applicant, contended that the Karnataka had so far followed vacancy-based reservations, resulting in over-representation of the SC/ST candidates in PWD and KTPCL.

Giving an example of sanctioned posts and working strength in the cadre of chief engineer, vis-a-vis representation of SC/ST employees who were promoted on the basis of reservation, the counsel said out of total working strength of 32, the number of officers belonging to Scheduled Caste category was 15, which came to around 45.45 %. In case of Scheduled Tribe, the number of officers was three, which was 9.36%. Only 14 officers were of general category, which came to 43.75%.

Senior advocates Indira Jaising and Dinesh Dwivedi, appearing for the reserved category employees, and the Karnataka government counsel, senior advocate Basava Prabhu Patil, raised questions on maintainability of the matter. They said the court should not intervene at this stage after the final judgement.

Notably, the court had passed the Pavitra II judgement on May 10, which had upheld the validity of Karnataka’s 2018 law for granting reservation in promotion to SC/ST employees.

The petitioners led by Pavitra filed the instant application, days after seeking review of the May 10 judgement. They sought a restraint order against the state government on its circulars issued on May 15 and June 24, for implementing the law on the reservation in promotion for the SC/ST employees.

Their application said that a direction was needed that all promotions should be re-worked on ‘post’ basis. They sought a direction to the state government to apply ‘post’ based reservation in terms of the judgement in the ‘R K Sabharwal Vs State of Punjab’ case (1995).

The applicants also sought a direction to the state government to apply ‘creamy layer’ and to exclude individuals belonging to the SC/STs, who no longer require reservation under Article 16 (4-A) of the Constitution.

They said further direction must be issued to the state to apply creamy layer at entry-level to disqualify those who were creamy layer at that stage and conduct the exercise from June 17, 1995, the date of the 77th Amendment.

They also urged the court to restrain the state from taking any action where no exercise was undertaken for that service or cadre on adequacy of representation in terms of the M Nagaraj judgement.

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