The top court directed the central and state governments to identify their specific issues and make written submissions within two weeks. Now the matter will be heard from October 5.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the central and state governments have to fulfill all the conditions in the policies for providing reservation in promotion to employees of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC-ST), which have been laid down by different constitution benches of the apex court. in the last two decisions.
At the same time, the apex court made it clear that it would not reconsider the judgments delivered in the cases of M. Nagraj (2006) and Jarnail Singh (2018). In both these decisions, conditions were laid down for the policies related to a reservation in promotion.
In both these cases, the apex court had made it mandatory for the Center and the states to collect quantitative data showing an inadequate representation of the SC/ST category, assess the impact of reservation on administrative efficiency and public employment, before granting reservation in promotions.
Justice L. A bench of Nageswara Rao, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, and Justice BR Gavai is hearing more than 130 petitions filed on the basis of decisions of 11 different High Courts on Tuesday. Various High Courts have given their decisions on different reservation policies in the last ten years. These decisions are related to states like Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Punjab, etc.
As soon as the hearing began on Tuesday, the bench said, “We make it clear that Nagraj or Jarnail Singh is not going to reopen the case.” We have limited scope in these matters. We will only test whether the decisions of the High Court have followed the principles laid down in these two decisions of the Apex Court.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the central government, questioned the verdict in the Nagaraj case, saying the status of collection of quantitative data to show an inadequate representation of SC-STs is “vague”.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for some of the reserved category candidates, also told the bench that both the judgments do not define what is meant by adequate representation or efficient functioning. He said that because of this there is confusion regarding reservation in promotion. He urged that the bench may give some guidelines to clarify the previous decisions. But the bench turned down the request.
Senior advocates Rajeev Dhavan, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, and Kumar Parimal, representatives of the general category candidates, strongly objected to the pleas of reopening the previous decisions.
Then rejected the demand for allowing ad-hoc promotion
Attorney General Venugopal once again sought permission from the central government to conduct ad-hoc promotions to fill up over 1.3 lakh vacancies across the country. He said that these promotions would be done purely on the basis of seniority. The decision against the promotion of such candidates may result in reverting to the lower post.
Venugopal said that due to the court order to maintain the status quo in April 2019, functioning in many departments has become very difficult. But the bench once again refused to allow it. Earlier in July 2020 and January 2021 also, the Supreme Court had refused to allow ad-hoc promotion.
Contempt notice will not be returned to DoPT Secretary
The bench also turned down the request made by the Attorney General to withdraw the contempt notice issued to the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT). The notice was given for alleged violation of the status quo order on the promotion of central government employees.
What is the problem of the states?
In the M. Nagraj and Jarnail Singh cases, the Supreme Court had held that if states decide to allow reservation in promotion, they must maintain overall administrative efficiency as well as quantitative data showing an inadequate representation of a section in public employment. We, Will, have to collect
The apex court had also implemented the creamy layer test for reservation in promotion for SCs/STs. It is finding it very difficult for the states to meet these criteria. This has led to the states seeking clarification on whether there is an inadequate representation at the cadre level or at the departmental or state level as a whole. The exclusion of the creamy layer and additional conditions for assessing administrative efficiency at the time of promotion has also created problems for the states.
We are not going to give any guidelines on how to follow the decision given in Nagraj or Jarnail Singh cases. We have already said in the Jarnail Singh case that it is for the states to figure out how to follow the principles of the Nagraj case in terms of inadequate representation and overall efficiency. – said the Supreme Court