NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Centre to provide reservation in promotion of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes employees as per law, till the issue is disposed off by the Constitution Bench. The Centre, in its submissions, argued that entire process of promotion has come to a "standstill" due to the orders passed by various high courts and the apex court had also ordered for "status quo" in a similar matter in 2015.
The government said there were separate verdicts by the high courts of Delhi, Bombay and Punjab and Haryana on the issue of reservation in promotion to SC/ST employees and the apex court had also passed different orders on appeals filed against those judgements.
After looking into the submissions, the SC bench allowed the promotions, as per the law. "We will say you (Centre) can go ahead with promotion in accordance with law," a vacation bench comprising Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan said.
During the hearing, the Centre cited the case laws on the issue of quota in promotion in government jobs and stated that the apex court's 2006 judgement in M Nagaraj case would be applicable. The M Nagaraj verdict had said that creamy layer concept cannot be applied to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for promotions in government jobs like two earlier verdicts of 1992 Indra Sawhney and others versus Union of India (popularly called Mandal Commission verdict) and 2005 E V Chinnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh, which dealt with creamy layer in Other Backward Classes category.
Singh said the petition before the bench was the Centre's challenge to the Delhi High Court's August 23 last year verdict quashing government's order extending reservation in promotion to employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes beyond five years from November 16, 1992.
Seeking to know current process of promotions, the court asked: "How the promotion is taking place as of now?" The ASG then responded by saying: "They are not. It is all standstill. This is the problem".
Earlier on November 15 last year, a three-judge bench of the apex court had agreed to consider whether its 11-year-old judgement in M Nagaraj case was needed to be re-visited.
The top court had referred the matter to a constitution bench while it was hearing a batch of petition which arose from a Bombay High Court verdict quashing two state government notifications terming them as ultra vires to Article 16(4A) of the Constitution.
The Delhi High Court, in its August 23 last year verdict, had set aside an August 1997 office memorandum issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) on the issue of reservation in promotion to the employees belonging to SC/ST.
The high court had also restrained the Centre from granting reservation in promotion without first collecting the data on inadequate representation.