The Supreme Court has dismissed Review Petitions filed against its judgment (BK Pavitra vs. Union of India) that upheld the Constitutional validity of the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (to the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Act 2018.
This Karnataka Act provided for consequential seniority to persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes promoted under the reservation policy of the State of Karnataka.
In the review petitions, it was contended that the judgment of the Apex Court did not consider the binding principles laid down by in Constitution Bench judgments in Nagaraj v Union of India and Jarnail Singh v Lachhmi Narain Gupta. They contended that there is an error apparent in the findings on the retrospective application of the Reservation Act 2018 and the inapplicability of the 'creamy layer' concept to consequential seniority.
Dismissing the review petitions, the bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and DY Chandrachud observed:
We have gone through the contents of the Review Petitions. Every ground urged in the review petitions has been addressed on merits in the judgment under review. Consistent with the parameters that guide the exercise of the review jurisdiction, we do not find any error apparent on the record to justify interference. The Review Petitions are therefore dismissed."
The Karnataka Determination of Seniority of the Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of the Reservation (to the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Act 2002 was held to be unconstitutional [in BK Pavitra 1] on the ground that an exercise for determining 'inadequacy of representation', 'backwardness' and the impact on 'overall efficiency' had not preceded the enactment of the law.
Thereafter, the Government constituted the 'Ratna Prabha Committee' to submit a report on the backwardness and inadequacy of representation of SCs and STs in the State Civil Services and the impact of reservation on overall administrative efficiency in the State of Karnataka.
On the basis of the Ratna Prabha Committee report, the Government of Karnataka introduced the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (to the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Bill 2017 which finally became an Act on 23 June 2018.
Various persons challenged this Act on the ground that the Reservation Act 2018 is substantively the same as the Reservation Act 2002 and that the report of the Ratna Prabha Committee was not in compliance with principles laid down in constitution bench judgments in Nagaraj and Jarnail.
"We have come to the conclusion that the challenge to the constitutional validity of the Reservation Act 2018 is lacking in substance. Following the decision in B K Pavitra I, the State government duly carried out the exercise of collating and analysing data on the compelling factors adverted to by the Constitution Bench in Nagaraj. The Reservation Act 2018 has cured the deficiency which was noticed by B K Pavitra I in respect of the Reservation Act 2002. The Reservation Act 2018 does not amount to a usurpation of judicial power by the state legislature. It is Nagaraj and Jarnail compliant. The Reservation Act 2018 is a valid exercise of the enabling power conferred by Article 16 (4A) of the Constitution.", the Court had held while dismissing the petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Act.