SC reserves order on quota in promotions

NEW DELHI, Aug 30: The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking that a seven-judge bench reviews its 2006 verdict which had put conditions for granting quota benefits for job promotions to SC/ST employees.
A five-judge constitution bench, in its 2006 verdict in M Nagraj case, had said that the states are bound to provide quantifiable data on the backwardness of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), the facts about their inadequate representation in Government jobs and the overall administrative efficiency before providing quota in promotions to those belonging to these communities.
The Centre and various State Governments have also sought reconsideration of this verdict on various grounds, including that the members of the SC/ST communities are presumed to be backward and considering their stigma of caste, they should be given reservation even in job promotions.
The Centre has alleged that the Nagraj verdict had put unnecessary conditions in granting quota benefits to the SC/ST employees and sought its reconsideration by a larger bench.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra reserved its verdict after hearing various stakeholders, including the Centre, on the matter.
Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, strongly argued in favour of granting quota to SC/ST employees, saying there was a presumption of backwardness in their favour.
He said the SC/ST communities have been facing caste-based discrimination for long and the stigma of caste is attached to them despite the fact that some of them have come up.
At the hearing yesterday, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, who represents those opposing quota in promotions, had told the bench that earlier there was presumption of backwardness with regard to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe communities.
There should not be quota in promotions for higher services as the presumption of backwardness of SC and ST employees “vanishes” once they join Government service, he had claimed.
He had also said the quota in promotions for SC/ST may be continued for class-IV and class-III services, but should not be allowed for higher services.
Earlier, the top court had questioned the logic behind granting quota in promotions in Government jobs to the kith and kin of affluent persons among the SC and ST communities who have been holding high official positions.
It had asked why the ‘creamy layer’ principle, used to exclude the affluent among other backward classes (OBCs) from enjoying the fruits of reservation, cannot be made applicable to deny quota benefits in promotion to those affluent among the SCs and STs.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today held that a member of a Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe community cannot claim the benefit of reservation in Government employment in other States if his or her caste is not notified there.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi unanimously held that a person belonging to Scheduled Caste in one state cannot be deemed to be a Scheduled Caste in other states where he migrated for the purpose of employment or education.
The bench, which also comprised Justices N V Ramana, R Banumathi, M Shantanagoudar and Justice S A Nazeer, held “A person notified as Scheduled Caste in State A cannot claim the same status in another State on the basis that he is declared as Scheduled Caste in state A.”
Justice Banumathi, however, disagreed with the majority view on the aspect of applicability of central reservation policy on SC/ST in national capital territory, Delhi.
The bench with a majority of 4:1 held that so far as Delhi is concerned, the Central Reservation policy regarding SC/ST would be applicable here.
The verdict came on a batch of petitions that had raised the issue whether a SC/ST in one state can seek reservation in another state where his caste is not notified as SC/ST.
The bench was also seized of the question whether SC/ST people of other state can seek quota benefits for Government jobs in Delhi. (PTI)