NEW DELHI: A five-judge Constitution Bench will decide whether an 11-year-old Supreme Court judgment on reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in job promotions needed to be revisited.
On Wednesday, a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra referred the matter to the Constitution Bench to decide on whether the 2006 judgment in the M Nagaraj v. Union of India should be reconsidered. However, the CJI on Wednesday made clear that the Constitution Bench will not go into the merits of the 2006 judgment.
In the Nagraj case, a five-judge Constitution Bench had ruled that creamy layer should be excluded from the reservations for the SCs and STs in government jobs. The apex court had also held that the State was not bound to make reservations for SC/ST in matter of promotions. However, if it wished to exercise its discretion and make such a provision, then it should collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment in addition to compliance of Article 335.
It was also held that even if the State had compelling reasons, it would have to see that the quota did not breach the 50 per cent ceiling limit, or obliterate the creamy layer, or extend the reservation indefinitely.
A Bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R Banumathi had on Tuesday referred the matter to the CJI-led Bench saying that clarity was required on the application of creamy layer in situations of completing claims within the same races, communities, groups or parts thereof of SC/ST communities notified by the President under Articles 341 and 342. The court was hearing a batch of petitions which arose from a Bombay High Court order quashing two state government resolutions terming them as ultra vires to Article 16(4A) of the Constitution. Several other states have also approached the apex court on the issue.