The Karnataka Cabinet Wednesday decided to implement a 2017 act on reservation in promotions for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes, over which the Supreme Court had earlier orally advised status quo. It has been decided to implement the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (To the post in the civil services of the state) Act, 2017, Rural Development and Panachayat Raj Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said.
The implementation will be in accordance with the set guidelines and procedures and the cabinet decision will be subject to the final outcome of the related cases before the Supreme Court, he told reporters here. Karnataka had been providing reservation in promotions to SC/ST communities since 1978.
The Supreme Court in February 2017 had struck down all consequential promotions given to the employees belonging to SC/STs in the state, a decision which reportedly impacted at least 8,000 employees across 45 departments. However, the previous Congress government later brought in the act to circumvent the Supreme Court order and ensure that the reservation remains intact. But since the Supreme Court had orally advised to maintain the status quo in July, till now implementation of the law was withheld.
The SC/ST employees had been mounting pressure on the state government to implement the act. Gowda said the government had recently sought legal opinion from senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, representing the government in the matter in the court. In his written opinion, Rohatgi said he had told the Supreme Court that the state would go ahead with implementation of the law as it had been passed by the legislature and received the Presidential assent. Rohatgi had also said the court had recorded his statement and had not given any “contrasting directions, the minister added.
“We will now have to prepare a seniority list and on the basis of it we will have to implement there are rules and procedures in the law that need to be followed, it will take some time, he said. Replying to a question, he said Rohatgi had given a clear opinion that the question of contempt does not arise.
“We have accepted the advice of our legal counsel, he said, adding that the will of the cabinet was that the law had to be implemented without affecting anybody. On reported dissent within the cabinet on the move, Gowda said, there was no opposition, but there was comprehensive discussion, and it was good to discuss on such matters. The Minister maintained that the financial implication will be minor.
The cabinet also approved allocation of Rs 8,015 crore by the government for various development works for Bengaluru over three years from from 2018-19, to be taken up by the city civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). This includes works on flyovers, construction of storm water drains, development of lakes and upgradation of foot paths, the Minister said adding the amount would be in addition to the BBMP funds. The cabinet also gave its nod for Rs 78 crore funds for construction of new Karnataka Bhavan at Chanakyapuri in Delhi and for a draft bill regarding setting up of a university by the National Institute of Engineering-Mysuru.