Opinion » Lead

Updated: September 6, 2012 01:47 IST

Winning the case for promotion quotas

Anup Surendranath
Comment (48)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

More than a political consensus, it is hard data on the absence of marginalised sections from the higher bureaucracy that will give legitimacy to the measure

The decision to amend the Constitution to ensure reservation in promotions for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes has been the subject of much scrutiny without paying sufficient critical attention to the discourse of the Supreme Court on the issue. While the Court is not opposed to reservation in promotions per se, it has left many critical questions unanswered and has not clarified the precise content of the conditions on which it is willing to permit reservation in promotions. It might serve us well to understand the position of the Supreme Court on this issue before evaluating the contents of the proposed amendment.


At the centre of the current controversy is a judgment delivered by a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court in U.P Power Corporation Ltd. v. Rajesh Kumar in April 2012. It had already been held in M. Nagaraj v. Union of India (October 2006) that the state must demonstrate backwardness, inadequacy of representation and maintenance of efficiency before providing reservation in promotions. However, what the U.P Power Corporation did for the first time was to strike down reservation in promotions for not meeting these criteria.

Reservation in promotions has been a sphere of intense disagreement between Parliament and the Supreme Court. To overcome the decision of a nine-judge bench in Indra Sawhney and other judgments that disallowed reservation in promotions and consequential seniority, Parliament enacted three constitutional amendments in 1995, 2000 and 2002. While upholding the constitutional validity of the amendments, the Supreme Court in Nagaraj made it very clear that Article 16 (4A), which was inserted through these amendments, was only an enabling provision. In essence, every time a government or the legislature sought to provide reservation in promotions under Article 16 (4A), it would have to pass constitutional muster. While justifying each attempt to provide reservation in promotions, the state would have to demonstrate backwardness, inadequacy of representation and maintenance of efficiency. The U.P. Government Servants Seniority Rules challenged in the U.P Power Corporation case was one such attempt.

The three conditions laid down in Nagaraj raise a number of concerns. It must be remembered that Article 16 (4A) permits reservation in promotions only for the SCs/STs and not for the OBCs. In this context, the first condition in Nagaraj requiring the state to demonstrate backwardness of the beneficiaries is problematic. It is problematic because it amounts to bringing in the ‘creamy layer’ test for SCs/STs through the backdoor. It has been held numerous times by the Supreme Court, including in the judgment in Indra Sawhney, that the test of ‘creamy layer’ is not applicable to SCs/STs. The settled position of law is that all members of recognised SC/ST groups automatically satisfy the condition of backwardness and there is no burden on the state to further establish the backwardness of those individuals benefiting from reservation. While this requirement exists for the OBCs in terms of the ‘creamy layer’ test, Justice (as he then was) Kapadia’s opinion in Nagaraj does not provide any justification for not following the position endorsed by a larger bench in the context of the SCs/STs.

On the question of inadequacy of representation, the text of Article 16 is clear that it is a matter for the state to determine. While it must base its determination on some material, the question as demonstrated in the U.P Power Corporation case is about the nature of the empirical evidence that is required. The Supreme Court provides no justification for using the cadre as a unit for determining inadequacy of representation and the method could well distort the picture on adequacy of representation. There is no reason why the state cannot make its determination on the basis of a particular group of services or certain ranks across services or even public employment as a whole. The Supreme Court has also failed to address certain other aspects of adequacy of representation. It has not discussed whether achieving proportional representation would be the standard to determine adequacy or whether it considers proportional representation irrelevant in this context. It has also not clarified the period over which adequacy must be determined.

Dr. Ambedkar demonstrated tremendous foresight in the Constituent Assembly when he called for deleting the phrase — “is in the opinion of the state, not adequately represented” — from Article 16(4). He believed that it would become a matter of litigation and the courts could substitute their judgment on adequacy of representation by holding that a reservation was being made despite being adequately represented.

In many ways it is the efficiency question that has always been at the heart of the debate concerning reservation in promotions. Prabhat Patnaik, while making a strong argument for viewing reservation in employment as promoting efficiency, has accurately observed that the supporters of reservation in public employment rarely rebut the ‘loss in efficiency’ argument and appear to counter it only by resorting to arguments about social justice and inclusion. Ever since the early days of the Supreme Court, it has been a constant refrain that reservation in employment leads to a loss in efficiency. The basis for that argument has never been articulated in any of the Supreme Court’s judgments and has always been stated as a self-evident truth.

The ‘loss in efficiency’ argument, apart from not being grounded in any sort of empirical study, is largely the result of an extremely conservative understanding of ‘merit’. There has been no judicial discussion about the role of efficiency across different categories of public employment. What does it really mean to talk about efficiency in the context of a railway ticket inspector, an IAS officer, a Group D employee, a nuclear scientist, etc.? The quality of discourse on this issue, in terms of the arguments from the government’s side and the Supreme Court’s judgments, leaves a lot to be desired.

The way forward

The government’s response, as reflected in the 117 Constitution Amendment Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha, is unsatisfactory. While the proposal remedies the error in Nagaraj on the issue of backwardness of the SCs/STs, its approach to ‘adequacy of representation’ and efficiency is counterproductive. The proposed Article 16 (4A), which seeks to substitute the existing Article 16 (4A), has done away with concerns of efficiency by stating that nothing in Article 335 can be an impediment, and the reference to ‘adequacy of representation’ has been deleted.

Anomalous situation

This leads to the anomalous situation where the above two factors continue to be relevant for the OBCs and the SCs/STs as far as initial appointments are concerned since Article 16(4) will not be similarly amended. The proposed amendment offers us no insight into why these factors are irrelevant in the particular case of reservation in promotions for the SCs/STs. It would have been far more legitimate to argue for a more meaningful understanding of efficiency before the Supreme Court rather than completely negating it as a factor through a constitutional amendment. Similarly, removing the reference to ‘adequacy of representation’ will only further question the legitimacy of reservation in promotions.

The Supreme Court must give the state room for manoeuvre on what is acceptable empirical data. It also cannot remain silent on some critical normative questions and keep the government guessing about the terms on which it will permit the exercise of power under Article 16 (4A). Reservation in promotions at the entry level does not ensure that the project of equality of opportunity is complete. We could argue endlessly whether reservation in promotions would take that project further but, in terms of governance, we have already made a political and constitutional choice. It cannot be the judiciary’s task to indirectly undo that choice having already upheld it and it must be the government’s task to make legitimate use of it. The envisaged constitutional amendment is the least legitimate option because any political consensus will be based on electoral compulsions. Governments, State and Central, must present the country with hard facts to derive legitimacy — hard facts confirming the lack of presence of India’s most marginalised sections in the upper echelons of bureaucratic power. It is this evidence of the lack of presence that will expose the hollowness of the claims concerning equality of opportunity in public employment.

(Anup Surendranath is an Assistant Professor of Law at the National Law University, Delhi, and a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford.)

More In: Lead | Opinion

Almost everyone is clamoring regarding the flawed policy of
reservation for SC/ST.Everyone is aware of the fact that deserving
people are not being benefited from current reservation policy and
still Govt. is vociferously pushing to pass one more bill in favor of
reservation despite the fact that maximum have expressed dissent with
the Govt. on this issue.We are not the largest Democracy rather we are
the most pathetic democracy as Govt ensures how pathetic its citizens
attempts really are to stop Govt. from doing anything with an entire
motive to garner handful of votes.

from:  Ankit Trivedi
Posted on: Sep 8, 2012 at 21:49 IST

The issue with biased articles, such as the one written by anup, is
that the over the top bias distracts even from the valid points raised
in an argument.
Could the author really not figure out why the Supreme Court requires
'cadre' to be the unit for bench-marking representation ? Well anup,
here's why - if left to their own discretion, state governments could
& WOULD use whatever statistic to buttress their position. Cadre on
the other hand is a logical set, large enough to be statistically
significant while ensuring all comparisons are apples to apples.
Similarly, instead of making an argument for reservation not adversely
affecting efficiency, the author is content to take umbrage under
phrases such as "argument not grounded in empirical studies". Turns
out the authors rebuttal is also "not grounded in any empirical
<br />
Since The Hindu is unable to get decent unbiased editorials, the
newspaper should carry 2 articles - for & again; let the people

from:  Apurv
Posted on: Sep 8, 2012 at 01:03 IST

As such with Reservation in Education and Jobs, quality went for a toss. Now with Reservation in Promotion too, India will be doomed. Why should meritorius Upper caste people live in such a rotten system and spoil their lives.

from:  Srinivas Gopalan
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 19:18 IST

How many more years of reservation do we need to uplift the lower castes? If 65 years of reservation and constant increase in the percentage of reservation could not do anything, it is imperative for the policy makers to try to figure out what went wrong? Everywhere we can see people from well off lower castes getting all jobs/ benefits and the really deserving ones do not even get to know about what they are entitled to. We are a progressive country and the policy requirements at the time of independence were different from what we need now. We have to come out of the shell and start promoting efficiency and hard work. Reservation only makes people complacent as if i can get into a college with 50%, why would i work hard to get 98? The government should instead work on the basic education system which is deeply flawed? Why give them reservation in the jobs, why not quality education?

from:  Manju
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 17:19 IST

i really doubt if democracy is good for India......democratic government is only as good as the people....but sadly many of our voters are educated by paper but not in real sense(as for us education is getting a 10th certificate....which in state boards is taken for granted) these ppl vote based on personal favours by parties like for votes....etc......and guys like us we work and pay taxes but what's the use i have to go to my office on the same rickety bus bumping on the same potholes.....
i need a strong India and plz god give me courage and idea how to achieve it........
as of now we can't do anything else rather laugh at ourselves and our problems......and learn to live in THIS BIGGEST DEMOCRACY WITH GREATEST CONSTITUTION where democracy is bought by votes and constitution is continuously abused and changed by successive govts

from:  mahesh
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 17:19 IST

I completely agree with Raju's comment above, that the fact "general category" is projected as a category itself, which itself is incorrect.

I would briefly like to mention a point here that after the Zamindari Abolition act, it is really the so called BCs which are the owner of the lands in most of the rural India, North or south. In fact, historian Satish Chandra's book also mentions it as a point.

Also, if social stigma and conditions are to be talked about, just think about a Brahmin boy, who has no lands, belongs to a poor family. What will he do? He can not sweep lands (social stigma), or do miniscule job. His parents (educated) want to see him prosper. What will he do? Service: very tough to get into.Probably go out of the country, if he has option or be drunkard with all negative thoughts, if he is not absorbed in the private sector.

Just a reminder about a recent happening in Rajasthan: Gujjars/Jats fighting to be declared SC. Consider the case of Meenas many of them IAS.

from:  Md Ismail
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 17:01 IST

A person who is working in such elite services as the IAS/IPS/IRS etc is himself a different class than the normal SC/ST.

Second thing is that one who has reached the level of the Joint Secretary, Government of India, is believed to be well above all these social structures. He might have different preoccupations, though, but definitely not that is prevalent in rural India. This makes the point of reservation in the higher Government posts a complete disaster on merit system (of whatever is left, after numerous layers of quotas and politics) one faces.

@yogikasi The whole point giving reservation is not to make the so called "general caste" suffer the same way as SC/STs suffered 65 years ago. While social upliftment is a good cause in itself, but it should not be done in a way that completely destroys the administrative structure of the country as it is like the veins and arteries of the country.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 16:52 IST

Quota of any kind is over-riding qualities and is a sure recipe for decadence. It is evident in every sphere of India today.

from:  Dr. R. L. Banerjee
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 16:02 IST

When the country became independent in 1947, the political leaders of the day talked about establishing a secular democracy where the evils of the caste system would be done away with. However, the vision of those leaders have been lost. Every day, the politicians are coming up with new ideas to reinforce caste and religion identities. And what about justice to those who do not belong to the favoured communities? The tactics of the politicians to divide people on the basis of caste and religion for short term electoral gains will destroy the country.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 15:59 IST

It is not surprising to see this column filled with anti-reservation sentiments, since the suppressed classes are obviously underrepresented in the Internet also, as is the case in Judiciary, Executive & Media. People who are shouting about merit, equality etc etc should direct their ire against the society which still practices untouchability and manual scavenging of night soil. Let us not forget that our upper castes enjoyed reservation from time immemorial and how Karna and Ekalayvan were discriminated is vividly depicted in our epics.Priests in our temples are appointed by way of 100% caste reservation even today in our country.We must all be ashamed of this.

from:  Jeevan
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 14:46 IST

Quota in education itself is great injustice... How a fellow with less marks can get a medical/Engineering seat when highly qualified candidates are not given the benefit.Let him join as per his qualification. Why do you want him to create a Doctor from a less standard fellow.Again in posting the govt is giving the benefit and they never think of improving the standards of lower class by making them competitive.
> Now in promotions... Where it is going. Already Central Govt has started giving the benefit in promotions without a legislation and the discussion is going on now only. What a great injustice being given to Central Govt meritorious Employees.
> When a less qualified, less intelligent inefficient fellow is promoted and is riding over you will realise the problem. From school days the Open Category candidate is discreminated.He is moving out of state to Centre and now to Foreign countries/MNC's. The so called sick leaders can't stop the Growth of meritorious.

from:  A.Natarajan
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 14:29 IST

dear all
i read all of the thought put down by the different people.
1. 1st thing is that someone says that " being a general candidate is
crime in INDIA", no its not, compare it with era 65 years ago "being a
SC/ST was a crime" at that time. they can't take education, earn
wealth , live at normal place etc government is not doing
the things as they happens 65 yrs ago... all general people are
allowed to live normally and with dignity....such a move of
reservation will only provide SC ST people to come the job and
represent their community to whihch they is question of
representation which the reservation should not be
based upon the economic backwardness....

from:  yogikasi
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 12:32 IST

Reservations should be solely based on economic status.

from:  Ashish
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 12:04 IST

Lot many spelling mistakes are there in the comment by Mr.Asad Ahmad.I cant imagine The Hindu being much careless about these small things.

from:  Ashish
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 11:57 IST

Dear Shaheen
I feel your pain because I went through a similar incident. I worked hard and had an
excellent rating at my job. It was very agonising to see another person get the
promotion just because he belonged to general category (same category as the
manager above us). If you put yourself in my shoes I am sure you can also see my
agony and hopefully think twice about reservation.

from:  Balasundar
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 11:33 IST

The only way to put an end to all this is to stop defining a person by his caste. Caste
should not be a criteria for anything, be it education, work or social life. Like Aamir
Khan said on his show, "Every person should have a dignified living". If people look
down on a person just because he belongs to, what "ancient people" referred to as
lower caste, it just kills the very soul of that person rendering him demotivated and
less efficient.

@ Shaheen
Your competition is with the people who scored above 98.5% as you would have had
the same upbringing as them. If you claim to be in General Category then you should
compete in that category. In that sense you have failed and deserve to be away from
India. In a foreign country like Germany, you will realize how it feels when you are
passed over for promotion because of who you are, despite having an exemplary
career record.

from:  balasundar
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 11:21 IST

The evidence that is required is not whether there is adequate
representation of all social categories at the top levels. It should
be whether inadequate representation is due to discrimination.

from:  YSK
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 10:10 IST

Government always looks for a vote bank ,and devise methods to secure its position at the centre.I would have appreciated the government move when it had sought article 336 enshrined in our constitution as the basic structure of the constitution and henceworth nothing would be left in the hand of executive and the parliament .It shouldnt be supported by DPSP.Promotion based on reservation is a mere vague concept.The rule of law does not contemplate this notion of government .It is better to have reservation to those people who are economically backward rather than having a holistic approach in SC/ST.I really dont understand why the UPA government is unprogressive and comes with such agenda which really question their system.Referendum and Plebiscite should be welcomed before paving any move.

from:  Md Bakhtiar Khan
Posted on: Sep 7, 2012 at 02:23 IST

I am living in Germany for the past 2 years. I am often asked don't I have plans to come back and ain't I am doing a disservice to my country? But such stupid decisions by such stupid government make me believe that it's better to think about yourself first.

I had secured 98.5% in CAT and it's difficult to put in words, how agonising it was seeing another student with 70% getting admission in an IIM, just because he belongs to ST category. And this is when he was more financially stable than me. I completely agree with some other commentators that it is a crime in India being in General category!

Hope one day we get above this all caste politics. But that dream seems to be a distant one!

from:  Shaheen
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 15:12 IST

Author is very correct in pointing out the need for empirical
evidence, and government should make sure while making any law it has
taken up the task of studying the requirement, backed with solid
evidences.But its incorrect on author's part to pull judiciary's leg
for containing government from making laws. Yes, it is a well accepted
fact that its prerogative of parliament to make law, but it is duty of
judiciary to nullify laws that defy the basic structure of
constitution. And in my opinion giving reservation on basis of castes
is just vote bank politics, as even after 62 years of this being in
implementation no improvement can be seen, instead number of people
needing reservation keeps on increasing.

from:  Piyush Tyagi
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 15:01 IST

I belong to general class and i stongly believe that based on
representation our reservation policies should be made. But I don't
think reservation would serve a purpose unless the top positions are
not infiltrated by the SC/ST/OBCs. Thus rather than asking
reservation in just Government jobs I propose my bretherens from so
called Backward classes to please rise and ask for the representation
at cabinet too. And better if we could have a rotational policy for
PM, too. One year a SC Candidate, the other SC, then OBC then a
minority community candidate, and even if govt. survives fifth year
could be given to a general candidate. Nevertheless cabinet should
consist of 23% OBC members, 15% SC, 7.5% ST and rest from minority
and general. In such a scenario only where leadership would be from
the top then only caste politics would be abolished. I am sure India
can achieve its glory once again

Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 14:38 IST

There is no end to this political game. The great game continues
irrespective of the state of subject in discussion. what has been
achieved in last 65 years is mere compared to the investment made.
Problem lies with us and not with the laws. Keep on making amendments
and there would be another issue to contest.
If we become true to our-self and to society much of the problem could
be resolved.

from:  Amit
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 14:35 IST

Lets do one thing, jobs only for SC ST for 20 years and scraps the quota
system altogether !!!

from:  bhabanee
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 14:14 IST

mr suryanarayana rao,
agreed that the MPs can enact laws- for they are there for legislating only- and overturn any orders of supreme court as they are the representatives of the people. Supreme court interprets the laws made by the legislators in respect of various issues/cases before it in accordance with the provisions thereof and the constitution. But what happens when these representatives of the people fill up their pockets from the public coffers for their personal benefits or for the benefits of their relatives or cronies and friends. What happens when the opposition MPs oppose the moves of the ruling MPs who are also elected by the people.? It is also vote bank politics. can corruption be justified?

from:  s. narayan
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 14:10 IST

Reservation, if genuinely required, should be given only once, either in Education or in Employment. Certainly not in promotions. Once they are employed, they are no more become backward. Sufficient push required to get into mainstream is already given by way of free education, lower academic qualifying and age limits in higher & technical education and for getting an employment. After getting these benefits, any person with less than normal IQ also should be able to move forward on his/her own. Now providing further reservations in Promotion also means indirectly telling these guys that you are useless and we are giving you promotions to buy your VOTES. our politicians are infact insulting these backward people. Many of the physcically challenged people do not want to go for reservations and want compete with others and show every one that they are no less in any field. It is proved by HOSANAGARA NAGARAJEGOWDA Girisha in London 2012 Paralympic Games in winning silver medal High Jump.

from:  Raghavendra Jois
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 12:47 IST

It is disastrous and unmindful on the part of govt. to put forward proposal for reservations in promotion for the backward class and look forward to amend the constitution. In my entire career in central govt. job and 15 yrs service in private sector, I have not come across even a single case where an efficient and eligible backward class employee had been denied promotion. Then why this reservation ? Opposition should more violently oppose this politically motivated move of the UPA govt. It has put aside even the decisions given by the Supreme Court. We can term it as another SCAM by the UPA govt. though monitory gains/losses are not involved. It looks like that there is no wisdom left in UPA.

from:  S S Sodhi
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 12:43 IST

Reservation whether in promotion, employment or educational
institutions is a result of laws enacted by democratically elected
representatives of people. The representatives also have the right to
undo judgments of Supreme Courts by enacting suitable laws which are
again subject to judicial scrutiny. When these representatives unseat
an Indira Gandhi or a Sanjay Gandhi after emergency we call it triumph
of democracy and what not. But when the same MPs enact a law enabling
quotas in promotion is it vote bank politics? Even hypocrisy should
have some limits. I am of the firm opinion that all those opposed to
reservation do not believe in law of the land. Going by the online
comments it is clear many do seem to have understood the article at

from:  Baikadi Suryanarayana Rao
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 12:19 IST

Mr. Surendranath has written a well argued article from 'law' angle by identifying gaps in Supreme Court's judgement and its interpretation where definitely a lot remains desired. However, I am surprised at near absent reference to countrywide changing social landscape, ingenuity of sweeping legislation and potential risks it poses for further fragmentation. There is an urgent need for larger debates on the subject and effective ways to deal with it. To suggest, sweeping reservation is the only solution, leave a lot to desire. And, Politics in the country defines low everyday, and it is for us to choose to be played with again or deny them.

from:  Naval
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 12:13 IST

It is disgraceful to see a consensus in the parliament regarding this bill-just shows how much of an impact vote-bank politics has on important national decisions today.
The author has clearly not supported the statement 'the lack of presence of India’s most marginalised sections in the upper echelons of bureaucratic power' with any factual data. In fact, after this bill, even the SC/ST's who rose to the top pf the pedestal by virtue of sheer hard work and talent will have their integrity questioned, say a decade or so later when the true reasons to their rise to power will be long forgotten, eclipsed by the government's 'revolutionary' bill for reservations in promotion.

Sad state that we live in.

from:  Venkat
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 11:52 IST

The main idea behind providing reservation is for the social upliftment of the so called depressed sections of the society in the decade of 1950s when the constitution was framed.

Who constitute the depressed class now in the 21st century India? In rural India? in urban India? This is a bigger question than giving reservation itself. Natuarally, those belonging to that categories not getting reservation will be against the bill, those who are getting will be in favour.

In the changing social landscape of "developing India" the government also needs to see who comprises the General category: Brahmins, thakur, bania or other communities carry out broad based research on their social conditions separately and not as a single "General group," if social justice is the criterian. Horizontal distinctions also have to be taken in account: rich, poor, service etc.

But, today in vote bank politics, it is a number game. OBCs as a group are the most numerous and so are their interests.

from:  Raju
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 11:48 IST

God save India.
I shudder to think that my children will have to grow up n such a country where oppurtunities will be denied because we are " Upper " caste.

Reservation initially was only for 10 years. But now it is given that it will stay on forever.

Why dont you have a affirmative action, where all things equal teh SC ST fellow will take teh seat.
Otherwise As now China is already ahead after 10 years even Vietnam will also be ahead of us

from:  Ravi Iyer
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 11:33 IST

The Wonderful part of the Above Article is the Author asking the Supreme Court to reveal its stand on the below:
1> Adeqacy of representation
2> Importantly on the Efficency

It is an Great thought, the supreme court just can't merely leave the states guessing about the parameters that are required for providing of reservations in Promotions.

The kind of these debates would strengthen our Judiciary and constitutional issues only if Broad consensus is brought among various stakeholders.

from:  sai
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 11:31 IST

Very valid point raised by Mr. Abhishek Garg.Why should ACRs as well as PARs not be put to the public or any concerned person who wants to go through? Why has there been such a veil over the functioning of government machinery? Why can we not the all the reports public ? The only reason I can see is that every point the government albeit Ms. Mayawati would be proven folly.

from:  Gautam
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 11:15 IST

In a big country like India, is it possible to solve problems only by
reservation. Everybody wants one or other concessions on something
which will be counter productive. people must be encouraged to fight
back their life with minimum encouragement for all basic needs. too much
of reservation will not lead us anywhere.

from:  srikumar
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 10:49 IST

The author has charitably admired the legislative endeavors to
expand reservations to promotions in government services, but it
would be unfair to depict the apex judiciary as regressive and
doctrinaire in this matter. In fact, during Constituent Assembly
Debates on job reservations, there were objections against using
ambiguous expressions like “inadequacy of representation”, “backward
classes of citizens” in Clause (4) of Article 16 and “efficiency of
administration” in Art 335, and some members lambasted this
obscurity as creating a “paradise for lawyers”. However, Dr.
Ambedkar, Chairman, Drafting Committee referred to many other
constitutions of the world to justify use of expressions which can’t
be defined with certainty for all times to come, and so, are better
left for the courts to interpret in future. In Indra Sawhney (Mandal
Case, 1992) the apex court had clarified the impermissibility of
promotional reservations under the Constitution; yet after amendment
in the relevant provisions by the Parliament the mechanism was
upheld by the court as valid both in M.Nagaraj (2006) and Rajesh
Kumar(2012). The three requirements of establishing “backwardness”,
“inadequacy of representation” and no adverse impact on “efficiency
in services” are not something alien imported arbitrarily by court
into job reservations,-- but were deliberately intertwined therewith
by the founding fathers themselves, lest -- to quote Dr. Ambedkar- “
the exception made in favour of reservation ultimately eat up the
rule altogether”. Nagaraj nowhere demands backwardness of even
Scheduled Castes /Scheduled Tribes to be re-established; however,
why should anybody object to assessing and re-assessing of “adequacy
of representation” in different cadres? And who stops the government
from fixing the period in which such “adequacy” would be re-
assessed? The proposed new Clause (4-A) of Art 16 devoid of any
limitation on promotional reservation and consequential seniority
would not only disturb the delicate balance between the almost
forgotten guarantee of “equality” and “affirmative action”, but also
bring a new era of administrative chaos epicentered on caste.

from:  D.K.Bhatt
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 10:47 IST

Soviet Union collapsed because there was no incentive to work hard as everyone would have equal benefit irrespective of work done. The case of quota in promotions becomes similar. With promotions decided more by the caste rather than the merit, employees would resist having to put extra effort.
Moreover, the case of quota benefits without any exclusion of creamy layer makes the whole exercise futile. For instance, during my college days(Professional University under Central), most of the quota seats were filled by people with very strong backgrounds fit to be excluded, including kids of IAS, ministers, army officers, and industrialists. I remember only two who had weak background and needed reservation in real terms. Conclusively, rather than other caste people, the marginalized sections are exploited more by their brethren who have got a head-start but still want push.

from:  Vikas
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 10:46 IST

This is not the question of employment to the SC/ST/OBC people; But those people are already existing Govt employee of an organization, should be earning good salary & paying tax; The answer to this whole issue is not about providing reservation in promotion, but to enlighten supervisors to render equal justice to all staff of the company... and those who are looking for promotion to prepare themselves for next level. Promotion is all about who can manage the responsibility at that level & to carry forward organization vision/mission to the next level. This is very critical to harmonious institution functioning & reform Govt efficiency. Bring diversity to the organization & Diversity is nothing but working together with meritorous people of any walk of life/background.It is not only the best way to do but also right things to do.

from:  srinivas
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 10:43 IST

I don't understand the author perspective of "Creamy layer" procedure in promotion; This is not the question of employment to the SC/ST/OBC people; But those people are already existing Govt employee of an organization, should be earning good salary & paying tax; The answer to this whole issue is not about providing reservation in promotion, but to enlighten supervisors to render equal justice to all staff of the company... and those who are looking for promotion to prepare themselves for the next level. Promotion is all about who can manage the responsibility at that level & to carry forward an organization vision/mission to the next level. This is very critical to harmonious institution functioning & effective approach to reform Govt also. The bottom line is, “Bring diversity to the organization” & Diversity is nothing but working together with meritorious people of any walk of life/background. This is not only the best way to do but also right things to do.

from:  srinivas
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 10:32 IST

When the SC / ST have been provided in all the spheres upto entry into the Govt.job, leaving the others who are more talented wayside, it can be justified. But, to give reservation in Promotion is preposterous. Think about other persons who joined the Govt and the junior getting promotion and he has to work under him for the rest of his life? Will the 80% of the Govt servant work with whole heart and with efficiency. Don't spoil the Governance, because of Your politics.

from:  KalvaiaBabu
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 10:30 IST

I do not stand agisnt reservation ,but i support it must be ow on the basis of economic consideration. Now time has come o bring a change in the set pattern of cast systme of reservation, but must be as per demnad of time to call for new pattern. The govt should constitue a committee to review the reservation policy now and give recommendation on the basis of referendum.

from:  Asad AHmad
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 10:26 IST

Shocking that this bill is being pushed when even the merits of
reservation in employment itself is yet to be justified. When a person
is given employment on quota basis, all the issues about his social
backwardness are addressed. Now it is purely on his work culture,
efficiency, dedication and off course the seniority that his future
promotions should depend. With this retrograde step, the day is not
far off when even corruption will be justified based on one's economic
and social backwardness. On one side, we have the young India going
places and challenging the world's best in all spheres and pulling
India ahead while on the other, we have this rotten brigade who do
everything to stick to power, nullifying the country's progress to
meet their petty ambitions.
We cannot sleep, we have to wake up or else the country will be

from:  Balaji
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 10:17 IST

The point author raised (to produce empirical data on lack of adequate representation) is very valid provided the data produced by government also include the Annual Confidential Reports of all such SC/STs who were denied promotion. The argument of lack of representation can have two reasons a) Biased ACRs written by senior of upper caste and b) Poor performance. My concern is that those employees belonging to SC/ST category who are otherwise poor performer should not get the benefit of this blanket benefit. That will severely demoralize other upper cast employees. Thus instead of benefiting the SC/STs, this will make their life more difficult due to increased hatred.

from:  Abhishek Garg
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 09:20 IST

There is no question that SC/STs are woefully under-repesented in the higher levels of state bureaucracy. Study after study has shown that caste prejudices continue to stifle the advancement of SC/STs in this nation. We require government intervention to ensure that some semblance of equality is achieved. Discrimination in employment and in the workplace will never disappear if the privileged are left to their own devices. This is a struggle for the livelihood and equality of opportunity for the so-called outcastes.

from:  Arulmozhi
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 07:39 IST

It is most unfortunate, even after 65 years of independence vote bank politics creating a division between haves and have nots. Though the constitution provided reservations to SCs and STs for a period of ten years, every day politicians are extending the reservations to SCs & STs and other communities defined under BCs. This has become a disease type. All these benefits are going to rich and powerful people in those reserved categories. This must be stopped. In Andhra Pradesh, as 2014 elections are nearing political parties are playing game of reservations for BCs. In fact BCs in Andhra Pradesh, more than 50% are crorepathis. Even these wanted reservations and all other benefits. You can also look at SCs & STs, crorepathis are getting all benefits. In fact these must be according to poor and rich instead of caste or religion. Creamy layer must be eliminated but unfortunately politicians are against to such system as they will lose.

from:  Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 06:43 IST

If at all this bill comes about, I hope it is limited to the Governement
and Public sector establishments only. On one side, we are slapping our
backs in the world about our expertees and in India, we are moving
towards (for vote banks) to legislation which will encourage de-merit
in the system. I do not know when Political parties will wake up for a
need to face stiff intellectual competition in the world. Has any party
guts to face the reality !!

Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 06:27 IST

ticket checker promotion is understandable but promotion to cancer specialist,nuclear scientist totally uncalled for,it need highest depth of knowledge with proven record and integrity without any conflict,india is already backward in many way,will be more divided ,legging behind in performance and cohesion in unity and motivational management

from:  bhupinder
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 06:00 IST

Good article. Indeed it is correct that Supreme court should provide
more details of its normative judgement which shouldn't left any space
for discretion. And govt should take all factors into account apart from
political compulsion while bringing out such amendments.

from:  Siddhartha
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 05:36 IST

These measures almost make it seem like its a crime in India to be a
general candidate
Why doesn't the govt ensure availability of quality primary, secondary
and tertiary education to those people who are genuinely Depressed
instead of these stupid vote-minded steps which act as deterrent to
quality of work on both sides? Those whose promotions are ensured by
quota have no incentive to work hard, while those who are
discriminated against by these quotas will feel anger, which will
spoil quality of work and divide the nation.
Some people think that the so-called upper castes currently dominate
the public services and other sectors, denying legitimate
opportunities to the so-called lower caste officials. How about
setting up an independent commission of recognized individuals in each
of these sectors who will probe these reports and recommendations case
by case and take suitable action?

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Sep 6, 2012 at 03:42 IST
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