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SC: States not bound to give quotas in jobs, promotions | India News

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NEW DELHI: Busting a constitutional myth about reservation being intrinsic to public employment, the Supreme Court has ruled that states are not bound to provide quotas for SCs, STs or OBCs in government jobs and that there is no fundamental right to claim reservation in promotion.
“There is no doubt that the state government is not bound to make reservations. There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions. No mandamus can be issued by the court directing the state government to provide reservations,” said a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta on Friday.
The ruling came in a case regarding the validity of the Uttarakhand government’s September 5, 2012 decision to fill up all posts in government services in the state without providing reservations to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Uttarakhand HC had struck down the notification and had directed the government to provide quota to the specified categories.
Uttarakhand’s legal team argued that Article 16(4) and 16 (4-A) of the Constitution are merely enabling provisions and there is no fundamental right to claim reservation. The SC agreed the articles empower the state to make reservation in jobs and promotion in favour of SCs and STs “if in the opinion of the state they are not adequately represented”.
The bench upheld the September 5 notification and reversed the HC judgement. Writing the judgement for the bench, Justice Rao said, “It is settled law that the state government cannot be directed to provide reservations for appointments in public posts. Similarly, the state is not bound to make reservation for SCs and STs in matters of promotions. However, if they (the states) wish to exercise their discretion and make such a provision, the state has to collect quantifiable data showing inadequacy of representation of that class in public services.”
It also faulted the HC direction to the state to collect quantifiable data for providing reservation in promotion.
The SC said, “Not being bound to provide reservations, the state is not required to justify its decision… Even if under-representation of SCs and STs is brought to the notice of the Supreme Court, no mandamus can be issued by this court to the state government to provide reservation.”
Senior advocates Ranjit Kumar, Mukul Rohatgi and P S Narasimha, appearing for Uttarakhand, had argued there is no fundamental right to claim reservation in appointments or promotions to public posts and that there was no constitutional duty on states to provide reservations.
Appearing for people seeking quota in promotion, senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave and Colin Gonsalves argued that states had a constitutional obligation to provide reservation for upliftment of members of SC and ST communities as mandated under Articles 16(4) and 16(4-A). Justices Rao and Gupta said, “It is for the state government to decide whether reservations are required in the matter of appointment and promotions to public posts.”
The bench said when a state forms an opinion that reservation is not required to be provided, all that is needed is that there must be some material to support its decision.
“The court should show due deference to the opinion of the state which does not, however, mean that that the opinion so formed is beyond judicial scrutiny altogether,” it said.





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