Top court re­serves or­der on pleas to re­con­sider ver­dict on quota

DNA (Delhi) - - INDIA -

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thurs­day re­served its ver­dict on a batch of pe­ti­tions seek­ing that a sev­en­judge bench re­views its 2006 ver­dict which had put con­di­tions for grant­ing quota ben­e­fits for job pro­mo­tions to SC/ST em­ploy­ees.

A five-judge con­sti­tu­tion bench, in its 2006 ver­dict in M Na­graj case, had said that the states are bound to pro­vide quan­tifi­able data on the back­ward­ness of Sched­uled Castes (SC) and Sched­uled Tribes (ST), the facts about their in­ad­e­quate rep­re­sen­ta­tion in gov­ern­ment jobs and the over­all ad­min­is­tra­tive ef­fi­ciency be­fore pro­vid­ing quota in pro­mo­tions to those be­long­ing to th­ese com­mu­ni­ties.

The Cen­tre and var­i­ous state govern­ments have also sought re­con­sid­er­a­tion of this ver­dict on var­i­ous grounds, in­clud­ing that the mem­bers of the SC/ST com­mu­ni­ties are pre­sumed to be back­ward and con­sid­er­ing their stigma of caste, they should be given reser­va­tion even in job pro­mo­tions. The Cen­tre has al­leged that the Na­graj ver­dict had put un­nec­es­sary con­di­tions in grant­ing quota ben­e­fits to the SC/ST em­ploy­ees and sought its re­con­sid­er­a­tion by a larger bench.

A five-judge con­sti­tu­tion bench headed by Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra re­served its ver­dict af­ter hear­ing var­i­ous stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing the Cen­tre, on the mat­ter. At­tor­ney Gen­eral K K Venu­gopal, ap­pear­ing for the Cen­tre, strongly ar­gued in favour of grant­ing quota to SC/ST em­ploy­ees, say­ing there was a pre­sump­tion of back­ward­ness in their favour.

He said the SC/ST com­mu­ni­ties have been fac­ing caste­based dis­crim­i­na­tion for long and the stigma of caste is at­tached to them de­spite the fact that some of them have come up.

At the hear­ing yes­ter­day, se­nior ad­vo­cate Rakesh Dwivedi had told the bench that ear­lier there was pre­sump­tion of back­ward­ness with re­gard to sched­uled caste and sched­uled tribe com­mu­ni­ties. There should not be quota in pro­mo­tions for higher ser­vices as the pre­sump­tion of back­ward­ness of SC and ST em­ploy­ees “van­ishes” once they join gov­ern­ment ser­vice. He had also said the quota in pro­mo­tions for SC/ST may be con­tin­ued for class-IV and classIII ser­vices, but should not be al­lowed for higher ser­vices. Ear­lier, the top court had asked why the ‘creamy layer’ prin­ci­ple, used to ex­clude the af­flu­ent among other back­ward classes (OBCs) from en­joy­ing the fruits of reser­va­tion, can­not be made ap­pli­ca­ble to deny quota ben­e­fits in pro­mo­tion to those af­flu­ent among the SCs and STs.

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