The Supreme Court on Monday stayed SC/ST reservation in promotion for government jobs and ordered status quo after the Narendra Modi government failed to implement the scheme due to lack of qualifiable data. While hearing a bunch of petitions filed by the Centre and states, a bench of Justices SA Bobde and Abdul Nazeer ordered status quo on the Delhi High Court's order which had asked the Centre to comply within three months with the apex court's judgement.
Last year, a five judge Constitution bench had ruled that the reservation in promotions can be implemented and the "creamy layer"could be extended to SCs and STs to deny quota benefits to the "elite" among them.
In their petitions, Attorney General KK Venugopal and lawyers for various states had stated that a scheme was still being contemplated and before it is done, there should not be any movement in the matters of quota in job promotions for the Scheduled Casts and Scheduled Tribes.
"We consider it appropriate to grant status quo (on high court direction) as on today," the bench said after Attorney General K K Venugopal said that the high court ought not have passed such order.
Venugopal said various issues arising out of reservation in promotions in government jobs to SC/ST employees will be adjudicated by the apex court but the "problem" for the Centre was the high court's direction.
The bench said it would also hear the batch of petitions, which are already pending before it, related to the issue after summer vacations. "We will hear these matters fully," the bench observed.
During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Maharashtra said that thousands of post were lying vacant and the number was 89,000 in the state. "There should be some way out to grant promotions," the counsel said.
The bench, however, said it would hear these matters in detail. On September 26 last year, a five-judge constitution bench had declined the demand to refer the matter to a seven-judge bench to reconsider the apex court's 2006 judgement that had put certain conditions for granting quota benefits in job promotions for SC/ST employees.
It had clarified that there was no need to revisit its 2006 verdict in M Nagaraj case which had said that the states were bound to provide quantifiable data on the backwardness of SC/ST, the facts about their inadequate representation in government jobs and the overall administrative efficiency, before providing them quota in promotions.
(With inputs from PTI)