From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Judgments in the newscard
Mains level : Quota in Promotions
The Union government has urged the Supreme Court to do away with the requirement of collecting quantifiable data by the Centre and states to determine the representation of people belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) while implementing reservation in promotion.
- The top court has called it “disturbing” that the Union government did not discontinue reservation in promotion for people belonging to SC/STs.
- It referred to their numbers exceeded the upper ceiling of 15% and 7.5% respectively, of positions in some classes of central government jobs.
Quota in Promotions: A timeline
What was the case?
- The Union government has been pressing for reservation in promotion proportionate to the population of SCs and STs as per a 1995 judgment by the top court in the RK Sabharwal case.
- It wants it to be left open to the Centre and states to decide on promotional avenues for SCs and STs.
- It claims that the condition regarding collection of quantifiable data to show inadequacy of representation of SCs/STs is “vague”.
- Advocates representing general category have contended that the reservation cannot be for an indefinite period and that it must stop as soon as the upper ceiling has been reached.
- Further, they have emphasised that reservation in promotion should be cadre-based only after quantifiable data is collected and the creamy layer has been excluded.
Defying the need for quantifiable data
- Attorney General sought to convince the court that the roster system, based on the proportionate population of SCs/STs, has been working quite well in all government departments.
- The condition of collecting quantifiable data on inadequacy of representation of SCs/STs may not be required at all.
- He urged that there is no need to verify any further or collect quantifiable data after the roster system.
Referring to the Nagraj Case
- Article 16(4A) of Indian Constitution allows reservations to SCs and STs in promotions, as long as the government believes that they are not adequately represented in government services.
- In 2006, a Constitution bench’s ruling in the M Nagaraj case made it incumbent upon the state to collect quantifiable data showing inadequacy of representation in public employment.
- This was to be done in addition to maintaining overall administrative efficiency.
Why such demand by the Centre?
- The Attorney General has said that it is tough for a member of the SC/ST to reach the ‘Group A’ category jobs.
- The time has come for the apex court to firm up and draw the basis for reservation in promotions for SC/ST candidates to fill up vacancies in top jobs.
- The Bench referred to records filed before it to note that there was low representation of SC/ST category in Group A jobs.
- Instead of improving the situation in the Group A ranks, the court said, efforts are on to ensure adequate representation in Groups B and C. This was not fair, it remarked.