'Quotas & Reservations For Promotions In Govt Jobs Not A Fundamental Right': SC
In a judgement delivered on Friday, February 7, the Supreme Court said that quotas for promotions in government jobs is not a fundamental right.
It said that states could not be forced to provide quotas and make such provisions in the absence of data that reveals that there is some imbalance in the representation of certain communities in public service.
The top court while delivering a verdict on appeals on reservations for SC/ST community members in promotions to Assistant Engineer (Civil) posts in the Public Works Department of the Uttarakhand government, said that there was no "fundamental right" that allowed claims such as these.
"There is no doubt the state government is not bound to make reservations. There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions. No mandamus can be issued by the court directing state governments to provide reservations," NDTV quoted a bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta as saying on February 7.
This judgement by the Supreme Court overturned a 2012 ruling by the Uttarakhand High Court. Back then, the court had directed that quotas be provided to specified communities by the state - senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Colin Gonsalves and Dushyant Dave had argued that it was the duty of the state to help SCs/STs under Articles 16(4) and 16(4-A) of the Constitution.
The top court on Friday pointed out that these articles give the power to make reservations only "if in the opinion of the state they are not adequately represented in the services of the state."
"It is settled law the state cannot be directed to provide reservations for appointment in public posts. Similarly, the state is not bound to make reservations for SCs/STs in matters of promotions," the court said.
The court pointed out that reservation for appointment and promotion was a matter of discretion, and the states must justify their decisions that will be taken based on quantifiable data if they were to be challenged.
A five-judge bench in 2018 said that well-off members from SC/ST communities could not get benefits of reservation in government jobs. In December 2019, a seven-judge bench was asked by the Centre to review this.