No interim order against ruling on ‘creamy layer’ in quota for SC, ST govt. staff in promotions: apex court

The Supreme Court on Wednesday indicated that a seven-judge Bench may be constituted to examine whether a 2006 judgment by a five-judge Bench of the court interrupted the grant of quota in promotions.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra scheduled a batch of over 40 petitions on the question of referral to a seven-judge Bench on August 3.

The oral observation was in reaction to submissions made by Attorney General K. K. Venugopal that lakhs of promotions across government departments have been put on hold because of the Nagaraj judgment of 2006. Mr. Venugopal, while urging the court to set up the seven-judge Bench, however unsuccessfully pleaded for interim orders.

The Bench refused to pass interim directions contrary to the Nagaraj judgment as of now. As of now, the freeze in reservations for promotions would continue.

The five-judge Bench in Nagaraj case had held that the creamy layer concept should be excluded from reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs. It had directed the upper limit of quota at 50%. It had held that the State would have to justify in each case the compelling reasons – namely backwardness and inadequacy of representation — for providing reservations “keeping in mind the overall efficiency of state administration”.

“It is made clear that even if the State has compelling reasons, the State will have to see that its reservation provision does not lead to excessiveness so as to breach the ceiling limit of 50% or obliterate the creamy layer or extend reservation indefinitely,” the Constitution Bench had observed in the Nagaraj verdict.

Two earlier verdicts

However, on June 5, in a major relief to the Centre, the court allowed it to go ahead with reservation in promotion for employees belonging to the SC and ST categories in “accordance with law”.

The court took into account the Centre’s submissions that the entire process of promotions had come to a “standstill” due to the orders passed by various High Courts and the apex court had also ordered for “status quo” in a similar matter in 2015.

A vacation Bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan said the Centre was not “debarred” from making promotions in accordance with law in the matter.

The government had said there were separate verdicts by High Courts of Delhi, Bombay and Punjab and Haryana on the issue of reservation in promotion for SC/ST employees and the apex court had also passed different orders on appeals filed against those judgement.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 5:23:57 AM |

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