1. If reservations are bad, those in promotions are worse

If reservations are bad, those in promotions are worse

Bringing in legislation to bypass SC criterion in the Nagraj judgement unfortunate - where will this stop?

By: | Published: May 9, 2017 7:43 AM
It would be unfortunate if the government succeeds in changing the law to bypass SC’s safeguards. (Representative Image: PTI)

Given that reservations go against the principle of merit, and even the Constitution did not envisage reservations for SC/ST for as long as 70 years—OBC reservations were not part of the Constitution but were brought in via the Mandal report—it is unfortunate the NDA government continues to push for quotas. If it wasn’t bad enough that the government bestows special privileges for SC/ST/OBC when it comes to admissions in colleges and jobs in the government, a quota for promotions is the worst form of vote-bank politics—after all, if SC/ST/OBC cannot even get promoted on the basis of their merit, at what stage will the quotas stop? Over time, the courts have tried to put limits to the use of quotas for promotion—in March 2016, in response to a PIL, the Supreme Court had ruled that SC/ST candidate could not ‘claim quotas as a right in government job promotions’, building upon a judgment given in M Nagaraj in 2006.

Soon after the SC ruling in March, however, the government set up a committee in the department of personnel and training (DoPT) to come up with suggestions on how to retain the quota in promotions. While it is not clear how the government proposes to deal with the legal aspects and whether it will push for overhauling the law altogether, the committee has reportedly favoured reservations in promotion “for equal opportunity and inclusive growth”. While the UPA regime was also of the same view, that cannot exonerate the present government which is also reportedly hoping to ease the rules.

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In December 2012, the Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution (117th Amendment) Bill which effectively sought to substitute the present Article 16(4a). In the Nagaraj case, while upholding the law on quotas in promotions, SC had said that the state was not bound to make reservations for SC/ST in the matter of promotions and that 16 (4a) was merely an enabling provision to be used subject to certain conditions—these included showing backwardness, inadequacy of representation and proof that overall administrative efficiency was not compromised. Since it was difficult to collect data to prove these criterion were being met—and various judgments went against the government due to this inability—the UPA sought to fix this by the 117th Amendment to the Constitution and got it passed in the Rajya Sabha.

Curiously, the NDA government hasn’t chosen to introduce this Bill in the Lok Sabha where it enjoys a clear majority—one possibility is that it feels the constitutional amendment doesn’t fully cover all the criterion raised by the Nagaraj ruling. It would be unfortunate if the government succeeds in changing the law to bypass SC’s safeguards. Indeed, in the Indra Sawhney case in 1992, the apex court had said quotas in promotion were ‘ultra vires’ of the Constitution—it, however, allowed these to continue for five years, but before this expired, the government had changed the law to make it legal. With general category students and job-seekers getting a raw deal already with the reservation quota at a high 50%, it is patently unfair they should also be at a disadvantage when it comes to promotions. With this kind of government pampering, it is not surprising even prosperous groups, from the Jats to the Patels, are looking to be included in the reserved category. Instead of being wound down, the principles of reservations are being ratcheted up.

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  1. Raman Govindan
    May 10, 2017 at 8:26 am
    people within the same organization for a longer time, fail to see the the negatives and positives of it. governments to avoid such lacuna transfer the officers at regular intervals. but the officers are raised with a set of do, dont's, at ude, prejudices, weaknesses etc. they take it with them even on transfer. to avoid it the government should induct directly fresh blood 33 or 50 of strength at around fresh hands at say 15 year interval from private sector.
    1. J
      May 10, 2017 at 1:12 am
      The day is not far when the govt will come with 100 reservation for the So called backward (vote bank) class!!!
      1. R
        R N Singh
        May 9, 2017 at 11:53 pm
        I am a govt babu and suffering stagnation as my junior are super versing me for no fault of mine. In the departmental exam for promotion I was senior based on merit. I was working together with fellow reserved category. Suddenly he got promoted and I am languishing. It has made the working atmosphere full of acrimony. After all enjoying the same pay package for many years why a reserved category employee need further elevation at the cost of demoralizing treatment to his seniors. There was no backwardness left after he was brought at equal level with many concessions at entry level. Now the workforce is a divided lot. I am not taking of reservation but reservation in promotion. It should have justifiable ground of inadequate representation but that is also not the case. They have exceeded the minimum no required. It is useless to talk of merit it has no sense for nonsense arguments.
        1. N
          May 10, 2017 at 9:59 am
          In government jobs many of the reservation posts are not filled in time. These posts are vacant for longer duration & no system wants the posts to be filled with the reserved candidate. Instead these posts are filled on ad hoc basis with General category candidates. So govt. babus feel that the juniors are getting promotion faster, sensible people will agree that if all reservation posts are filled in time, then there will not be promotion for reservation category.
        2. K
          May 9, 2017 at 9:32 pm
          Securing seats by donations more bad than reservation. Why no one worried abt it?
          1. N
            May 10, 2017 at 9:49 am
            True. Imagine a mediocre student gets admission to a medical college by giving donation and becomes doctor to recover his investment. Donations are more dangerous for securing admission than reservations. Donations are reservations in disguise, available only for affluent rich & corrupt citizens. But no one will talk against management quota & donations.
            1. R
              May 16, 2017 at 10:06 am
              Agreed, but what about those general category, who don't have the capacity to cough up donation? Is the reservation based on economic status only the solution?
          2. R
            May 9, 2017 at 7:35 pm
            Stop cast based reservation.
            1. J
              May 9, 2017 at 6:04 pm
              Stop cast based reservation immediately
              1. N
                May 10, 2017 at 10:01 am
                Also a Dalit can become priest in temple. Brahmin must accept job of a sweeper. What about reservations for women ?
              2. Truth Truth
                May 9, 2017 at 11:03 am
                OK Baba,I got 82 in my qualifying exam but was given lowest marks in interview to push me to the reserved category quota.I am quite sure I am 100 brilliant than those general merit candidates who were given highest marks in interview to accommodate them in general category. This is going in everywhere in almost all interview based jobs of group A and B posts. Where is justice? Caste based bias everywhere. Peons do not eat in the plates which are used by SC officers. I don't want any reservation but abolish the caste system first.Make law which bans caste iden y names.This country doesn't belong to upper castes who enjoy social status irrespective of the economic and intellectual status.
                1. S
                  samit ranjan
                  May 9, 2017 at 7:29 pm
                  This is the real fact wonderful good luck . Stupids doesn't know that 15 &7&1/2 for s.c s.t the rest is also reserved for general.you kill DALITS in the name of cow protector
                  1. M
                    May 10, 2017 at 12:08 am
                    Very good ....then i suggest stop fil the cast in school forms ... two generations every one will forget which cast they belong. Might be a good solution.
                  2. H
                    HR Ravikumar
                    May 9, 2017 at 10:27 am
                    It may end up in a day when all the Babus in Govt would be from reserve catagory or no one from General catagory would opt for Govt jobs! at the cost of Good & Efficient. Mera Bharath Mahaan!!!
                    1. A
                      A K Singh
                      May 9, 2017 at 10:13 am
                      Reservation in jobs would be fatal for economy . Reservation in higher education ins utions should be on basis on income, so that there is no division on the basis of caste, religion and ethnicity. Reservation is a flawed concept, as successive governments have failed to realise the fact we as a nation are still not able to send children to school.
                      1. Nagaraj P Gangadhar
                        May 9, 2017 at 10:11 am
                        If politicians cannot abolish reservation system for whatever selfish reasons then we public should think of alternate methods for getting over it. May be every citizen from each and every caste in India should demand for reservations and may be that can pave ways to get over reservations all together.
                        1. A
                          Amit Singh
                          May 9, 2017 at 9:41 am
                          Reservation is not bad. Nor the same in promotion. The representation of reserved categories in highest level of decision making of civil service is absymal. Its not because of any merit based approach but systemic bias against them. This merit idea in itself is inherently flawed. If india does not have reservation before independence, pre mughal or pre muslim era then also it failed to do any good for anyone. W society was in shambles. Then why not to give reigns to those who never had it. At least they will have chance to do good and will be better than the ppl who had chance and ed it up.
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