Apex court refuses to refer to 7-judge bench its 2006 order on SC/ST job promotion

NEW DELHI
26 Sep 2018

The Supreme Court today said its 2006 verdict putting the benefits of quota in job promotions for SC/ST employees need not be referred to a seven-judge bench.
The apex court also turned down the Centre's plea that overall population of SC/ST be considered for granting quota for them. The unanimous judgement was pronounced by a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra. The bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, S K Kaul and Indu Malhotra, said states need not collect quantifiable data on backwardness of SC/ST for giving quota in job promotion to SC/ST employees. The bench did not comment on two other conditions given in the 2006 verdict which dealt with adequacy of representation of SC/ST in promotion and not to disturb administrative efficiency.
The court's verdict came on petitions seeking that a seven-judge bench reconsiders the court's 2006 judgement which had put conditions for granting quota benefits in job promotions for SC/ST employees. The bench had reserved its verdict on August 30 after hearing various stakeholders, including the Centre, on the matter. A five-judge Constitution bench, in its 2006 verdict in the M Nagraj case, had said the states are bound to provide quantifiable data on the backwardness of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), the facts about their inadequate representation in government jobs and the overall administrative efficiency, before providing quota in promotions to members of these communities.
The Centre and various state governments have also sought reconsideration of this verdict on various grounds, including that the members of the SC and ST communities are presumed to be backward and considering their stigma of caste, they should be given reservation even in job promotions. The Centre has alleged that the verdict in the M Nagraj case had put unnecessary conditions in granting quota benefits to the SC and ST employees and sought its reconsideration by a larger bench. Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, had strongly argued in favour of granting quota to SC and ST employees, saying there was a presumption of backwardness in their favour.