The Supreme Court has said that the state will no longer require to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment in addition to compliance of Article 335 before grant quota in promotions to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (SC and ST) candidates.
The court, however, refused to refer the much debated 2006 M Nagaraj judgment to a seven-judge bench for consideration. The judgement paves the way for the Centre to go ahead with reservation in promotions for employees belonging to the SC and ST category in 'accordance with law'.
In June this year, the Supreme Court had allowed the Centre to go ahead with reservation in promotion for SC and ST employees, but with conditions. In August, the court had raised a question with the Central Government whether those affluent among the SC and ST communities should be excluded from getting quota benefits of promotions citing it may help those backward among these communities to 'come up'.
Arguing the case on the Centre's behalf, the Attorney General, KK Venugopal had claimed that there was a need to review the Nagaraj verdict, stating that the judgement had virtually stopped promotions by putting criteria like backwardness, inadequate representation and overall administrative efficiency.
Mr. Venugopal claimed that the 2006 judgment did not define as to what 'quantifiable data' the state required to prove before deciding to grant quota in promotions to SC and ST candidates who are not 'adequately represented' in jobs. He said that a benchmark to decide as to what extent the quota can be given in promotions should be fixed by the apex court.
The Supreme Court’s observed that the quota should be provided at the entry level. Subsequently, the employee would get 'accelerated seniority. There is a concept of adequacy which has to be reasonable and rational and not arbitrary' and this adequate representation comes into play after the Nagaraj judgement, the bench said.