Supreme Court: We leave it to State to assess Inadequacy of Representation of SCs/STs in Promotion

Munmun Kaur

Published On: January 28, 2022 at 14:10 IST

The Supreme Court on January 28 delivered the Judgment in the reservations in promotion matter. Thus, acknowledging the Centre and States confusion regarding the norms of Reservation in Promotions.

A Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna, and B.R.Gavai, who had reserved Judgment on October 26, observed that in the light of Jarnail Singh and Nagaraj, the Court cannot lay down any yardstick to determine inadequacy of representation. With respect to the unit for collecting quantifiable data, the Supreme Court observed that the State is obligated to collect quantifiable data regarding the adequacy of representation. Further, cadre should be unit for collection for quantifiable data for reservation. The collection cannot be with respect to the entire class/class/group, but it should be relatable to the Grade/Category of the post to which promotion is sought. Cadre should be the unit for collecting quantifiable data. It would be meaningless if the collection of data is with respect to the entire service.

With reference to proportionate representation and test of adequacy, the Apex Court observed, “As Jarnail Singh refused to go into that aspect we have not gone into it, we have left it to the state to assess inadequacy of representation of SCs/STs in promotion of post by taking into account relevant factors”.

A number of issues had arisen in this matter like how the adequacy of representation must be determined, whether it should be determined in proportion to the population percentage of different castes, whether there should be reservation in higher posts in A and B categories, whether a person in the reserved category who got appointed on the basis of merit in entry-level is entitled to reservation in promotions, etc.

The Bench said, “We have held that Nagaraj would have prospective effect and thereafter pertaining to the judgment of B.K. Pavitra II, we have held that the conclusion in B.K. Pavitra II approving the collection of data on the basis of groups and not cadres is contrary to the law laid down in Nagaraja and Jarnail Singh”.

Justice Rao pointed out that the Bench has not expressed any opinion on the merits of individual cases as they have just answered the common issues formulated after hearing the parties. He added, “We are listing the matter on 24th Feb.”

A detailed copy of Judgment is awaited.

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