NEW DELHI: The top court has ruled that it is within the absolute discretion of a state government to decide whether or not to provide for reservation or reservation in promotions, and that there is no obligation on states to do so.
A bench of Justices Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta ruled that there is no fundamental right to claim reservation in public jobs and no court can order a state government to provide for reservation to SC/STs.It clarified that a state government is bound to collect data regarding the inadequacy of representation of SC/ST in government services when it wants to provide reservation but otherwise.
“The state government is not bound to make reservations. There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions. No mandamus can be issued by the court directing the state government to provide reservations,” the court held.
However, if they wish to exercise their discretion and make such provision, the state has to collect quantifiable data showing the inadequacy of representation of that class in public services since such statistics will have to be placed before a court when a challenge is laid to the reservation policies, the bench ruled.
It further said the inadequacy of representation of SC/STs is a matter within the subjective satisfaction of the State, subject to the limited scope of judicial scrutiny because “it is for the state government to decide whether reservations are required for appointments to public posts”.
The bench made these important declarations while dealing with a bunch of cases relating to reservations to SCs and STs in promotions in the posts of Assistant Engineer (Civil) in Public Works Department, Government of Uttarakhand.
While Uttarakhand decided not to give reservations, the HC directed the state to first collect quantifiable data regarding the representation of SCs/STs.