Issue of SC/ST quota in promotions raised in SC

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) The issue of granting quota in promotions and filling up of such vacancies, meant for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, was raked up on Monday in the Supreme Court which said it would accord hearing after two weeks.
“Promotions have been made in unresreved categories of government employees in Maharashtra, but promotions have not been granted in reserved categories for SC and ST employees,” senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Maharashtra government, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde.

A similar argument was advanced by senior advocate P S Patwalia on behalf of the Jharkhand government saying that promotions are being granted to employees of general category, but the government was unable to do the same in case of reserved category SC/ST employees.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, supported the submissions and said that notices be issued on them and they be heard after two weeks.

Venugopal also said that around one lakh such posts are vacant with the Central government also.

“We will see that. List them after two weeks,” said the bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.

The bench said it would not be able to hear them and the matter would go to some other bench.

Earlier, the top court had said that it will consider all the aspects pertaining to grant of quota in promotions to SC/ST government employees.

It had taken note of submissions of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura that an earlier order of the apex court to maintain “status quo” was coming in their way in promoting SC/ST and other employees.

The Centre has recently urged the top court to refer its last year’s verdict excluding the creamy layer within the SC/ST community from reservation benefits to a 7-judge bench for a review.

A 5-judge Constitution bench in 2018 held that the well-off members of the SC and Scheduled Tribe ST communities cannot be granted the benefits of reservation in college admissions and government jobs.

The top court in the Jarnail Singh case had said that the Constitutional courts in implementing the principal of reservation will be within their jurisdiction to exclude the creamy layer from such groups or sub-groups from quota benefits by applying the principle of equality.

Patwalia had said the apex court’s order to maintain “status quo” with regard to promotions has created a situation where several hundred posts, to be filled through promotions, are lying vacant.

Recently, a two-judge bench of the top court has held that the states are not bound to provide reservation in appointments and there is no fundamental right to claim quota in promotions.

It held the state (Uttarakhand) government was not bound to make reservations and “there is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions”.