Reservation in promotion is not a fundamental right, rules Supreme Court

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Published: February 9, 2020 6:54 PM

Under Article 16, the state can make reservations in matters of appointment and promotion in favour of the SCs and STs if they are not adequately represented in the services of the state.

SC: It is settled law that the state cannot be directed to give reservations for appointment in public posts.

The Supreme Court has ruled that reservation in promotion is not a fundamental right and the states cannot be compelled to make laws in this regard for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST). In an order passed on Friday, justice L Nageswara Rao said that Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) do not confer fundamental right to claim reservations in promotion. “…Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) are in the nature of enabling provisions, vesting a discretion on the State Government to consider providing reservations, if the circumstances so warrant,” he said in the order.

The judgement says that it is settled law that the state cannot be directed to give reservations for appointment in public posts. The order further adds that the state is not bound to make a reservation for SCs and STs in matters of promotions. However, if the state wishes to exercise its discretion and make such provision, it has to collect quantifiable data showing ‘inadequacy of representation of that class in public services,’ the judgement reads.

The top court, however, said that if the decision of the state government to provide reservations in promotion is challenged then the state concerned will have to place before the court the quantifiable data that reservations became necessary on account of inadequacy of representation of SCs and STs without affecting general efficiency of administration as mandated by Article 335.

Under Article 16, the state can make reservations in matters of appointment and promotion in favour of the SCs and STs if they are not adequately represented in the services of the state. However, it is for the states to decide whether reservations are required in the matter of appointment and promotions to public posts.

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