The Supreme Court on Wednesday maintained part of its the 2006 judgement in the M Nagaraj vs Union of India case, relating to reservation in promotions to employees from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes to a larger bench for reconsideration, Bar and Bench reported. The court said it would not refer the judgement to a larger seven-judge Constitution bench.
However, the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices Kurien Joseph, RF Nariman, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indu Malhotra also clarified that there was no need to collect quantifiable data of backwardness of the employees to provide reservation in promotions, Live Law reported.
In the 2006 verdict, the Supreme Court imposed three conditions – identification of backwardness, compelling reasons and inadequate representation – for granting quota in promotions to employees from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. The court ruled that if reservation is implemented it must not breach the 50% ceiling or “obliterate the creamy layer”.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, however, did not comment on the two other conditions.
On June 5, the court allowed the Centre to provide reservation in promotions for employees from SC/ST communities till the Constitution bench disposes of the matter.
Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati welcomed the order. “The judgement is welcome to a certain extent since the Supreme Court didn’t impose a restriction in this regard and clearly said that centre or state governments can provide reservation if they want,” ANI quoted her as saying.
A Constitution bench was hearing the Centre’s special leave petition against the Delhi High Court’s August 2017 judgement. Citing the top court’s 2006 judgement in the M Nagaraj vs Union of India case, the High Court had quashed an office memorandum of the Department of Personnel and Training that provided for the continuation of reservation in promotions indefinitely.
In August, the Centre told the court that it was in favour of granting 22.5% reservation in promotions to government employees from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Attorney General KK Venugopal said employees from these communities were presumed to be backward because of more than a thousand years of deprivation.
The attorney general has urged the Supreme Court to revisit its 2006 verdict. The Centre told the court that there was no need to test the backwardness of employees from these communities while granting promotions as the court itself had said in the 1992 Indra Sawhney case that the test of backwardness does not apply to them.