The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Center what exercise it has taken to justify its decision to give quota in promotions to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) employees, such as their inadequate representation in jobs and The reservation will not adversely affect the overall administrative efficiency.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao said that if quotas in promotion to SCs and STs in a particular cadre of jobs are judicially challenged, the government will have to justify it on the ground that they are in a particular cadre. Inadequate representation in the cadre and providing quota will not adversely affect the overall administrative efficiency.
“Please don’t argue on principles. Show us the data. How do you justify reservation in promotion and what exercise have you done to justify decisions. Please take directions and let us know,” said the bench, comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna. were also involved. and BR Gavai.
Initially, Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, referred to the Supreme Court judgment from the Indra Sawhney judgment of 1992, known as the Mandal Commission case, and the Jarnail Singh judgment of 2018.
Mandal’s decision had ruled out the possibility of quota in promotion.
“Relevant point is that Indra Sawhney’s decision pertained to backward classes and not SCs and STs,” the law officer said.
He said, “This decision pertains to the question whether reservation should be given to every section in proportion to their population. It then says ‘No, it should not be given’ because then it is somewhere beyond the 50 per cent limit. will be more.”
He said that Article 16 of the Constitution requires equality in matters of public employment and if merit is the only criterion then SCs and STs, who are socially disadvantaged, may not be able to compete.
The law officer said that till 1975, 3.5 per cent SCs and 0.62 per cent STs were in government employment and this is an average figure.
Now the SC and ST figures in government employment have come down to 17.5 and 6.8 per cent respectively in 2008 which is still low and justifies such quotas, he said.
The court will continue the hearing today.
Earlier, the Supreme Court on September 14 had said that it will not reopen its decision to grant reservation in promotion to SCs and STs as it is for the states to decide how they implement it.
“We are making it clear that we are not going to reopen Nagraj or Jarnail Singh (cases) as the idea was only to decide these matters in accordance with the law laid down by the court,” the bench said.
It added that the issues framed by Attorney General KK Venugopal and circulated by others are increasing the scope of the cases.
“We are not ready to do that. There are some issues that have already been settled in Nagraj and we are not going to raise them either. We are very clear that we are not ready to reopen matters or debate that law. We are not going to allow any argument. The set forth by Indira Sawhney is wrong as the scope of these matters is to enforce the law laid down by this court.”
KK Venugopal had submitted before the Supreme Court that almost all these issues have been included in the Supreme Court’s decisions and he would give the background of all the cases on the issue of reservation since the Indira Sawhney case.
The Attorney General had said that the problem with the Union of India is that three interim High Court orders have been passed out of which two say that promotions can be continued, while one High Court has issued status quo orders on promotions.
“There are 1,400 posts (secretariat level) in the Government of India where no promotion can be made on regular basis as all three orders pertain to regular promotion. The issue is whether promotion can be continued for regular appointments and whether it is reserved. bearing on seats
KK Venugopal, seeking a stay on the contempt petition against the government, said, “Another 2,500 posts are held up for years due to the status quo orders relating to regular promotions. The government will make those promotions on ad-hoc basis without any authority.” wants.” Officer.
Earlier, Maharashtra and other states had said that promotions have been made in the unreserved categories, but not in the categories reserved for SC and ST employees.
In 2018, a five-judge constitution bench had refused to refer to the 2006 judgment in the M Nagaraj case, which adopted the concept of creamy layer for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) by a seven-judge bench. was extended to the larger bench. for reconsideration.
It paved the way for quotas for promotion in government jobs to SCs and STs and modified the 2006 judgment to the extent that states would not be required to “collect quantitative data” reflecting backwardness among these communities. . To justify reservation in promotion.
However, the Supreme Court in 2018 had upheld other conditions such as the government having to justify promotion in quotas for SCs and STs that their representation in that particular type of job is inadequate and will not affect the overall administration. Capacity.