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SC/ST govt staff promotion: SC upholds validity of State law

NEW DELHI / Kalburagi

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the validity of a new Karnataka law, granting reservation in promotion to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) employees.

The Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (To the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Act, 2017 received the President’s assent last year. It was published in the gazette on June 23, 2018.

On March 6, a Bench of Justices U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud reserved its judgement on a series of petitions.

This judgment is significant as Karnataka becomes the first State to gain from a Constitution (five-judge) Bench order of September 2018 that modified a 2006 order requiring the States to show quantifiable data to prove the “backwardness” of a SC/ST community in order to provide quota in promotion in public employment.

The September judgement by the Bench led by then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had given a huge fillip to the government’s efforts to provide “accelerated promotion with consequential seniority” for SC/ST people in government service. It held that the M Nagaraj judgement of 2006 was directly contrary to the nine-judge Bench verdict in the Indra Sawhney case.

In the Indira Sawhney case, the Supreme Court held that the “test or requirement of social and educational backwardness cannot be applied to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who indubitably fall within the expression ‘backward class of citizens’.”

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