CUTTACK: In a significant judgment, the Orissa High Court has upheld the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) order quashing the 2008 law which had earmarked 27 per cent posts for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) in public employment.A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Sanju Panda and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad found no infirmity in the SAT order. The High Court observed that the tribunal’s order was as per the settled law of the land.
The Odisha Reservation of Posts and Services for (Socially and Educationally Backward Classes) Act, 2008 stated that there shall be 27 per cent reservation in posts and services under the State in case of direct recruitment for the SEBC subject to exclusion of creamy layer.
However, it was challenged by Amar Chatoi, an aspirant for the post of Assistant Section Officer, before the SAT, which quashed it in December 2013 since the 27 per cent reservation took the total quantum of reservation above 50 per cent.
The tribunal said the Act was unsustainable in the eyes of the law as it had not been included in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution. The State Government, however, challenged the SAT order before the High Court which had directed the former to furnish quantifiable data in respect of SEBC category in the State services.By virtue of the Act, the total reservation quantum had gone beyond 65 per cent since reservation for SC and ST categories taken together stood at 38.75 per cent.
The tribunal had also directed the State Government and Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) not to exceed 50 per cent ceiling in total in respect of ST, SC and SEBC in public employment as laid down by the Supreme Court.Although the State had taken the plea that for providing 27 per cent reservation, necessary enactment was made under Article 16(4) and the same was in force as it had not been declared ultra vires by any competent court of law, the SAT was critical of it for hastily implementing the Act before its inclusion in the 9th Schedule.
After challenging the SAT order, the Government brought out a notification stating that there shall be reservation in favour of SEBC to the extent of 11.25 per cent in posts and services as an interim measure till the adjudication process reached its final conclusion.
‘No infirmity in SAT order’
A division bench of the High Court found no infirmity in the SAT order
The High Court observed that the tribunal’s order was as per the settled law of the land
The SAT said the SEBC Act was unsustainable in the eyes of the law as it had not been included in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution
The tribunal had also directed the State Government and the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) not to exceed 50 per cent ceiling in total in respect of ST, SC and SEBC in public employment as laid down by the Supreme Court