New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday allowed the Central Government to go ahead with reservation in promotion for employees belonging to the SC and ST category in "accordance with law".
The top court took into account the Centre's submissions that entire process of promotion has come to a "standstill" due to the orders passed by various high courts and the apex court had also ordered for "status quo" in a similar matter in 2015.
The government said there were separate verdicts by the high courts of Delhi, Bombay and Punjab and Haryana on the issue of reservation in promotion to SC/ST employees and the apex court had also passed different orders on appeals filed against those judgement.
"We will say you (Centre) can go ahead with promotion in accordance with law," a vacation bench comprising Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Ashok Bhushan told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, representing the Centre.
The top court was hearing a petition from the Centre challenging the Delhi High Court’s verdict quashing government’s order extending reservation in promotion to employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes beyond five years from November 16, 1992.
During the hearing, the ASG cited the case laws on the issue of quota in promotion in government jobs and stated that the apex court's 2006 judgement in M Nagaraj case would be applicable.
The M Nagaraj verdict had said that creamy layer concept cannot be applied to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for promotions in government jobs like two earlier verdicts of 1992 Indra Sawhney and others versus Union of India (popularly called Mandal Commission verdict) and 2005 E V Chinnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh, which dealt with creamy layer in Other Backward Classes category.
Singh said the petition before the bench was the Centre's challenge to the Delhi High Court's August 23 last year verdict quashing government's order extending reservation in promotion to employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes beyond five years from November 16, 1992.
At the outset, the ASG referred to orders passed by the apex court earlier, including a reference made to a five-judge constitution bench, and contended that one of the orders says there would be "status quo" as far as reservation in promotion to SC/SC employees was concerned.
He referred to a May 17 order passed by a bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph in a similar matter in which it was said that pendency of petition before it shall not stand in the way of the Centre taking steps for the purpose of promotion, according to PTI.
"How the promotion is taking place as of now?," the bench asked.
Responding to the query, the ASG said, "They are not. It is all standstill. This is the problem".
"I am the government and I want to give promotion as per constitutional mandate," he told the bench and urged that he was seeking a similar order as passed on May 17.
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