No SC/ST quotas for govt job promotions: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court while rejecting a PIL seeking direction to the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government to grant reservation in promotion ruled that scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) members could not claim quota as a right in government job promotions.

The Supreme Court has ruled that scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) members can not claim quota as a right in government job promotions. This move was taken while rejecting a PIL seeking direction to the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government to grant reservation in promotion.

In the landmark verdict, the apex court on March 11 said that the states were not constitutionally obliged to give preferential treatment to any community in promotion.

A bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant said that the government was not bound by any constitutional provision to frame a policy for reservation in promotion and the court could not order making reservation in promotion mandatory.

Referring to Articles 16(4), 16(4-A) and 16(4-B) of the Constitution mandating socially affirmative action to help disadvantaged groups, the court said that the states were not compelled to make reservation for SCs/STs in promotion.

It further said that the provisions allowed the government to exercise discretion and provide for reservation only after collecting quantifiable data showing backwardness of a class and inadequacy of their representation in public employment.

According to Article 16(4-A), nothing shall prevent the state from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotion, with consequential seniority, to any class or classes of posts in the services in favour of SCs and STs which, according to the state, were not adequately represented.

The bench refused to direct the UP government to carry out an exercise to find the representation of SCs/STs in government jobs in order to frame a policy for reservation in promotion.

"The state is not bound to make reservation for SCs and STs in matter of promotions. Therefore, there is no duty. In such a situation, to issue a mandamus to collect data would tantamount to asking the authorities whether there is ample data to frame a rule or regulation. This will be in a way, entering into the domain of legislation," the bench said, according to TOI.

The bench further said that the Constitution granted discretionary power to the government to frame law for reservation in promotion and they could not be forced to bring regulation on the issue.

"The courts do not formulate any policy, remains away from making anything that would amount to legislation, rules and regulation or policy relating to reservation. The courts can test the validity of the same when they are challenged. The court cannot direct for making legislation or for that matter any kind of subordinate legislation," the bench said, while rejecting the PIL.

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