No SC yardstick set on promotion quota for SC/STs

The SC order, on a batch of petitions concerning the inadequacy of representation of SC/ST to promotional posts, left it to the states to assess the inadequacy taking into account relevant factors.
Supreme Court (Photo | EPS)
Supreme Court (Photo | EPS)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to lay down the yardstick for determining the inadequacy of representation for granting reservation in promotions for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates in government jobs while reiterating the need for empirical data to arrive at the decision.

However, the data so collected must not be for a group in a service but for a cadre in which promotions have to be made, a three-judge bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna and
B R Gavai said. A cadre is part of a group.

“State is obligated to collect quantifiable data as per the court’s judgment in M Nagaraj (2006) and Jarnail Singh (2018). Collection of data has to be for each category of posts for the entire service,” the court ruled. The verdict came on a batch of petitions that urged the court to clarify norms for reservation in promotions.

The judgment primarily laid down the principle for providing quota in promotion. However, the order left it to the states to assess the inadequacy of representation of SC/ST to promotional posts taking into account relevant factors.

The bench also said that a review should be conducted regarding the data for the purpose of determining inadequacy of representation and providing reservation in promotion, but left it to the government to decide the time period for such a review.

The petitioners had sought clarity on several issues, mainly on how the adequacy of representation is to be determined. During the hearing, the Centre had suggested diluting the criteria for quota in promotion by doing away with the requirement of quantifiable data to establish inadequacy of representation of SCs/STs.

It had told the bench that even after 75 years of Independence, SCs/STs have not been brought to the same level of merit as the forward classes. “If you don’t lay down a definite decisive ground that the states and union will follow, there will be a multitude of litigations,” Attorney General K K Venugopal had said.

Cadre data gathering
“Cadre, which should be the unit for collection of quantifiable data, would be meaningless if data pertaining to the representation of SC/STs is with reference to the entire service,” the bench said

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