The Supreme Court has dismissed as not maintainable the miscellaneous applications challenging the directions and clarifications issued by the State government in implementing the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservations (to the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Act 2018.
The bench of Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud did not decide the case on merits and left it open to the applicants to pursue a substantive remedy for challenging the steps taken by the State government in independent proceedings. In May 2019, the Court in B K Pavitra & Ors. v Union of India & Ors. had upheld the constitutional validity of the Reservation Act.
The reliefs sought in the miscellaneous application filed after disposal of the judgment, are :
(a) Direct the State of Karnataka to implement 'post based reservation' in terms of the judgment passed by this Hon'ble Court in R.K. Sabharwal vs State of Punjab and to re-work all promotions on 'post' basis before any further action.
(b) Direct the State of Karnataka to apply 'creamy layer' and to exclude individuals belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes who no longer require reservation under Article 16(4-A) of the Constitution with a further direction to the State to apply creamy layer at entry level to disqualify those who were creamy layer at that stage and to conduct the exercise from 17th June, 1995, i.e. the date of the Seventy Seventh Amendment.
(c) Restrain the State and its instrumentalities from taking any action where, no exercise is undertaken for that service or cadre on adequacy or where there is adequacy of representation particular when every specific application of order in relation to each cadre must be Nagaraj compliant.
Referring to relevant Supreme Court Rules, the bench observed that the applications are not maintainable since they seek to lay challenge to the actions of the State government to carry into effect the provisions of the Reservation Act 2018.
The present MAs are, in effect, a substantive challenge to the actions of the State government in implementing the Reservation Act 2018 through the GO dated 15 May 2019 and the circular dated 24 June 2019. If the applicants are aggrieved by the steps which have been taken by the State government, it is open to them to pursue a substantive remedy for challenging the steps taken by the State government in independent proceedings.
The Court also noted that the judgment B K Pavitra II concerned the constitutional validity of the Reservation Act 2018 and not actions taken thereunder or in pursuance of its implementation.
Referring to various judgments on the subject of maintainability of applications like the ones filed, the bench said:
"The principle of law that emerges is that courts may scrutinise applications to assess whether they, in substance, seek a relief that may not be granted in those applications. Where the court is of the opinion that the nature of the application differs from its nomenclature and there is a method prescribed in law for the grant of the reliefs sought, it may hold that the application before it is not maintainable."
Case name: B K Pavithra vs. Union of IndiaCase no.: M.A. No. 1323 of 2019 In Writ Petition (C) No. 764 of 2018Coram: Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Dhananjaya Y. ChandrachudCounsel: Senior Advocates Rajeev Dhavan, Shekhar Naphade,Counsel: Sr.Advocates Basava Prabhu S Patil, Dinesh Dwivedi,Indira Jaising