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States can't amend laws with retrospective effect: SC

State governments cannot amend a procedural law with retrospective effect to provide for quota in posts after commencement of selection process, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held.



New Delhi: State governments cannot amend a procedural law with retrospective effect to provide for quota in posts after commencement of selection process, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held.

"In any case, the State Government cannot pass any order amending a procedural law regarding reservation in the matter of selection to posts, with retrospective effect, once the procedure of selection starts," a bench of justices S J Mukhopadhya and V Gopala Gowda said.

The verdict came on a batch of appeals filed against the 2004 judgement of the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

The High Court had upheld the finding of the Andhra Pradesh Administrative Tribunal saying the government can amend the procedural law with retrospective effect to provide reservation in the selection process to fill up certain posts.

The state government, in pursuance of 1975 'Presidential Order', had said that 70 per cent of "non-gazetted category posts other than Lower Division Clerk or equivalent posts were reserved in favour of local candidates."

As per the government order, a combined merit list a local and non-local candidates shall be drawn up to fill up the vacancies.

Later, state government, on March 7, 2002, amended its order by "bifurcating combined merit list into two parts i.E. one reserved for local candidates and another for both local and non-local candidates."

Setting aside the HC order, the apex court said, "we hold that the G.O.Ms.No.124 dated 7th March, 2002 is prospective and is not applicable to the process of selection started pursuant to Advertisement No.10 of 1999 including the 973 executive posts which were ordered to be filled up by the High Court pursuant to the advertisement.

"The Tribunal erred in directing the APPSC to re-cast the merit list pursuant to G.O.Ms.No.124 dated 7th March, 2002. The High Court by the impugned judgment dated 27th December, 2004 rightly held that the order passed by the Court will not affect the appointments already made to the executive post between 2001-2002 but erred in holding that the selection is to be made in accordance with G.O.Ms.No.124 dated 7th March, 2002."

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