Reservation in Promotion – Supreme Court refuses to lay down yardstick for granting Promotion Quota to SCs/STs

The Supreme Court on Friday delivered the judgment on the issue relating to reservation in promotions. The Centre and States had urged the Hon’ble Supreme Court to settle the confusion regarding the norms for reservation in promotions saying that several promotions/appointments have been stalled due to ambiguities. A Bench of Hon’ble Justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna and B.R.Gavaihad reserved judgment on October 26, after hearing the matter. As per report, the bench made following pronouncements today:

  1. Court cannot lay down any yardstick to determine inadequacy of representation.
  2. State is obligated to collect quantifiable data regarding adequacy of representation.
  3. Cadre should be unit for collection for quantifiable data for reservation. The collection cannot be with respect to the entire class/class/group, but it should be relatable to Grade/Category of post to which promotion is sought. Cadre should be the unit for collecting quantifiable data. It would be meaningless if collection of data is w.r.t. the entire service.
  4. The Nagaraj Judgment of 2006 would have a prospective effect.
  5. The conclusion in BK Pavitra (II) approving the collection of data on the basis of groups and not cadres is contrary to the dictum in Jarnail Singh.

With the recognition of ‘cadre’ as the unit for collection of quantifiable data, the court set aside its earlier judgment in the B.K. Pavithra case. 

“As far as B.K. Pavithra case is concerned, we have held that the conclusion of this court approving the collection of data on the basis of groups and not cadres is contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Nagaraj and Jarnail Singh judgments,” Justice Raopronounced. The court further left it to the State to assess the inadequacy of the representation of SCs and STs for promotional posts by taking into account the relevant factors. 

A review had to be conducted regarding the data for the purpose of determining the inadequacy of representation in promotions, the court ordered. The court left it to the Union government to fix a “reasonable” time for the States to conduct the review.