Job reservations, promotion quotas not a fundamental right: SC
Delhi, Feb 9: In a major judgment, the Supreme Court has said that there is
“no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation
in promotions”, and also no court can order a state government to provide
for reservation to SC/STs.
bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta said, “In view
of the law laid down by this Court, there is no doubt that 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 the State Government to provide reservations.”
the necessity of relevant data collection regarding representation of SC/STs in
public jobs, the apex court emphasized this exercise is pre-requisite to begin
reservation. And this data collection exercise, is not required when the state
government decided not to provide reservations.
top court observed the state government has the absolute discretion to decide
whether or not to provide for reservation in jobs or reservation in promotions.
Also, the state government is not under any obligation to do so.
its judgment, the bench said that Article 16(4) and 16(4-A) are enabling
provisions and the collection of quantifiable data showing inadequacy of
representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public service is a
“sine qua non for providing reservations in promotions.”
top court also clarified that a state government is bound to collect data
regarding inadequacy of representation of SCs/STs in government services when
it wants to provide reservation but otherwise. The top court also observed that
the state cannot be issued directions to provide reservations for appointment
in public posts. “The State is not bound to make reservation for Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes in matters of promotions”, added the court.
if a situation arises where such provisions were to be introduced, then the
state government concerned should collect quantifiable data, which exhibits
inadequacy of representation of that class in public services. And, this data
would have to be brought on record before the court when a challenge is laid to
the reservation policies.
court observed, “Not being bound to provide reservations in promotions,
the State is not required to justify its decision on the basis of quantifiable
data, showing that there is adequate representation of members of the Scheduled
Castes and Schedules Tribes in State services. Even if the under-representation
of Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes in public services is brought to the
notice of this Court, no mandamus can be issued by this Court to the State
Government to provide reservation.”
apex court also observed that the inadequacy of representation of SC/STs is a
matter within the subjective satisfaction of the State. “The State can
form its own opinion on the basis of the material it has in its possession
already or it may gather such material through a Commission/Committee, person
or authority. All that is required is that there must be some material on the
basis of which the opinion is formed,” added the court.
ruling of the top court came on a clutch of petitions connected with
reservation to SCs and STs in promotions in the posts of Assistant Engineer
(Civil) in Public Works Department, Government of Uttarakhand, where the
government had decided against reservations. But, the High Court asked the
state to first collect quantifiable data connected with representation of
SCs/STs, and decide on the matter. The High Court also gave another direction
that all future vacancies that are to be filled up by promotion in the posts of
assistant engineer, should only be from the members of SCs and STs. The apex
court set aside these directions.