The Supreme Court refused to lay down the “yardstick” for determining the inadequacy of representation for granting reservation in promotions for Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe candidates while providing them government jobs. The Centre and States had sought the directions of the apex court to settle the confusion regarding the norms for reservation in promotions.
A three-judge bench of Justices Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai said that the collection of quantifiable data is mandatory apart from assessment of inadequacy of representation after a periodic review is done. The bench added that the review period should be determined by the Central government.
The court stood with its decisions in Jarnail Singh and M. Nagaraj cases that the question of adequate representation of an SC/ST communities ought to be left to the respective States to determine.
In the verdict of M Nagaraj case, the Supreme Court had upheld its decision of granting quota in promotions for members of SC/ST communities. The court had mentioned three conditions to grant reservations.
However, the top court in 2018 refused to refer to the Nagaraj verdict, it said that the states will not be required to collect quantifiable data reflecting the backwardness of the SC/ST communities to justify the quota in promotions.
The Supreme Court made the following pronouncements in SC/ST Reservation in promotion:
- Court cannot lay down yardstick for determining inadequacy of representation.
- Cadre should be considered as unit for collection for quantifiable data, not entire service.The collection cannot be with respect to the entire class/ caste/ group.
- State has to collect quantifiable data regarding the adequacy of SC/ST representation in Services.
- Time period for review regarding the data should be reasonable.
- M Nagaraj judgment of the year 2006 will have prospective effect.
- DK Pavitra 2 judgement with regard to collection of quantifiable data is in contradiction to M Nagaraj judgement.
The judgement came in response to the petitions from all over the country seeking details for granting reservation in promotions.
The Attorney General K.K. Venugopal appeared for the States and government servants. He argued in favour of reservation in promotion.
“Even 75 years of Independence has not been able to bring members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes on par with the forward classes of society. It is tough for a member of the SC-ST to reach the ‘Group A’ category jobs.”Attorney General K.K. Venugopal
The Central government and other state governments had urged the Supreme Court to urgently hear the matter of reservation in promotions, because of the delay, several appointments have been stalled.