The Centre on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to do away with the requirement of collecting quantifiable data to determine the representation of people from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes while implementing reservation in promotion in government jobs, the Hindustan Times reported.

A three-judge bench led by Justice L Nageswara Rao was hearing a batch of petitions that were filed challenging reservation-related judgements of 11 different High Courts.

Attorney General KK Venugopal made the submission to do away with collecting of data in relation to a 2006 judgement by a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court. In that judgement, the court had said that the central and state governments need to collect quantifiable data showing inadequacy of representation of the two communities in government jobs.

However, Venugopal told the court that all government departments have roster systems to ascertain the number of posts that are to be set aside for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The roster system fills up vacancies based on proportionate population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

“It is a fact of life...In 75 years, we have not been able to bring the SCs/STs to the same level of merit,” Venugopal told the court, according to the Hindustan Times. “The time has come to hold that so far quantifiable data is concerned, it is not concrete and not down to earth.”

On the question of administrative efficiency, the attorney general said that government employees are promoted on the basis of their annual confidential reports and there was no need to put in place any additional criteria.

To a question on the time period within which the government should revisit the reservation policy, Venugopal said that a review should be carried out every ten years when census is conducted.