Centre, states urge Supreme Court to hear reservation in promotion petitions

The top court noted that in its earlier order, the state governments were directed to finalise the issues which are peculiar to them so that court can proceed in the matter.
Supreme Court. (Photo | EPS)
Supreme Court. (Photo | EPS)

NEW DELHI:  The Centre and various state governments have urged the Supreme Court to urgently hear pleas pertaining to reservation in promotions as several appointments have been stalled due to the ambiguities in the norms for applying reservation in promotions.

On Tuesday, a total of 133 petitions from various states were listed before a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai. The Attorney General of India, KK Vengupal told the court that several appointments in government posts have been stalled due to unsettled issues relating to reservation in promotions.

In 2018, a five-judge bench answered the reference holding the 2006 judgment in the M Nagaraj vs Union of India case to be wrong to the extent it had stated that quantifiable data showing backwardness of SC/STs was necessary for giving them reservation in promotions. With this clarification, the bench had turned down the plea to refer the Nagaraj decision to a seven-judge bench. During Tuesday’s hearing, the bench said it will not reopen the issues settled in previous cases.

Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for one of the petitioners, submitted that the directions enumerated in the Nagaraj judgment had not been implemented by all state governments. Senior advocate Indira Jaising told the bench there exists several ‘ambiguities’ in the Nagaraj ruling because no guidelines had been framed by the Centre pursuant to the judgment.

The AG said the ruling in the Nagaraj case requires interpretation as the judgment had left a lot of ambiguities when it comes to reservations in promotions. “The government of India’s problem is, there are three HC orders passed which say that promotions can continue to be made, while one high court has issued status quo orders on promotions. This opens up the government for contempt. The issue is whether the promotions for regular appointments can be continued,” he said.

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