Supreme Court Passes Order on Reservations in Promotion

The Supreme Court upheld the quashing of a resolution passed by Odisha Government. The resolution provided reservations in promotions for Scheduled Castes and Tribes. The Odisha High Court quashed the resolution on various grounds. Firstly, it can neither be termed as a law in the exercise of enabling power of the State under Article 16(4A). Secondly, it didn’t satisfy the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court.

The appellants challenging the HC judgement contend that it’s always open for the State to extend the benefit of reservation with consequential seniority. It can be done either by executive order or by way of legislation; following the 85th amendment to the Constitution which inserted Article 16(4A). It also highlighted that this Constitution Amendment was upheld in the decision in M Nagaraj v Union of India.

The division bench of Justices Mohan M Shantanagoudar and R Subhash Reddy pointed that in Nagaraj decision the Court upholding the 85th Constitution Amendment also held that the State is not bound to make a reservation for SCs/STs in matters of promotion. If State wishes to exercise their discretion and make reservations in promotion; then it has to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness and inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment. The Supreme Court upheld the quashing of resolution citing the principle. That reservation in promotions cannot be granted without examining the adequacy of representation in promotional posts.