Supreme Court to hear case of SC/ST reservations in promotions on 3 August; no interim order against 2006 verdict

The Supreme Court has scheduled the hearing of the case related to reservations in promotions for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) categories on 3 August, while refusing to pass an interim order against its 2006 verdict which dealt with application of the concept of  'creamy layer' for reservations in government job promotions.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud on Wednesday agreed to list the case at 2 pm on 3 August, Bar and Bench reported. It observed that a seven-judge Constitution bench is needed to consider its 2006 M Nagraj verdict.

Senior Counsel Rajeev Dhavan, Indira Jaising and Shekhar Naphade appeared for various parties in the case.

File photo of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. PTI

File photo of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. PTI

Attorney-General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said the matter should be heard urgently by a seven-judge Constitution bench as lakhs of jobs in the railways and services are stuck due to confusion over various judicial pronouncements.

The bench said one Constitution bench is already seized of various matters and the issue can only be taken up in the first week of August.

On 15 November last year, the top court had said a five-judge Constitution bench will examine the limited issue of whether the 2006 verdict delivered in M Nagaraj and others versus Union of India was required to be re-looked at or not.

The M Nagaraj verdict had said the creamy layer concept cannot be applied to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for promotions in government jobs like two earlier verdicts — 1992 Indra Sawhney and others versus Union of India (popularly called Mandal Commission verdict) and 2005 EV Chinnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh — which dealt with the 'creamy layer' in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category.

However, in June, the Supreme Court had allowed the Centre to go ahead with reservation in promotion for employees belonging to the SC/ST categories in "accordance with law".

The top court took into account the Centre's submissions that the entire process of promotions had come to a "standstill" due to the orders passed by various high courts and the apex court had also ordered for "status quo" in a similar matter in 2015.

A vacation bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan said the Centre was not "debarred" from making promotions in accordance with law in the matter.

The government had said there were separate verdicts by the high courts of Delhi, Bombay and Punjab and Haryana on the issue of reservation in promotion to SC/ST employees and the apex court had also passed different orders on appeals filed against those judgments.

In M Nagaraj versus Union of India, the Supreme Court had held that the state is not bound to make reservations for SC/ST employees in the matter of promotions. However, it also laid down three factors which ought to determine the state’s policy in this regard, according to the report in Bar and Bench. They are:

(i) The backwardness of the class;

(ii) Inadequacy of representation in service; and

(iii) Overall administrative efficiency

Further, the 5-judge constitution bench in the case also held that the state has to gather quantifiable data to determine the adequacy of representation and extent of backwardness of a certain class.

With inputs from PTI.

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Updated Date: Jul 11, 2018 13:57 PM

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