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No Fundamental Right To Claim Reservations In Promotion: SC [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
7 Feb 2020 12:20 PM GMT
No Fundamental Right To Claim Reservations In Promotion: SC [Read Judgment]

"No mandamus can be issued to the State Government to provide reservation."

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The Supreme Court has observed that the State Government is not required to justify its decision to not give reservation in promotion on the basis of quantifiable data, showing that there is adequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in State services.

The bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta observed that no mandamus can be issued by the Court to the State to collect quantifiable data relating to adequacy of representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public services.

In this case, the Uttarakhand High Court had issued a direction to the State Government should first collect data regarding the adequacy or inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Government services on the basis of which the State Government should take a decision whether or not to provide reservation in promotion. 

In appeal before the Apex Court, the main contention raised by the reserved category employees was that the State cannot refuse to collect quantifiable data regarding the adequacy or inadequacy of representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public services. According to them, the State has a duty to decide not to provide reservations only after the State is satisfied that the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are adequately represented in public posts on the basis of quantifiable data

Therefore, the issue considered by the Court was whether the State Government is bound to make reservations in public posts and whether the decision by the State Government not to provide reservations can be only on the basis of quantifiable data relating to adequacy of representation of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The bench made these observations:

Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) do not confer fundamental right to claim reservations in promotion . By relying upon earlier judgments of this Court, it was held in Ajit Singh (II) (supra) that Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) are in the nature of enabling provisions, vesting a discretion on the State Government to consider providing reservations, if the circumstances so warrant. It is settled law that the State Government cannot be directed to provide reservations for appointment in public posts. Similarly, the State is not bound to make reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in matters of promotions. However, if they wish to exercise their discretion and make such provision, the State has to collect quantifiable data showing inadequacy of representation of that class in public services. If the decision of the State Government to provide reservations in promotion is challenged, the State concerned shall have to place before the Court the requisite quantifiable data and satisfy the Court that such reservations became necessary on account of inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in a particular class or classes of posts without affecting general efficiency of administration as mandated by Article 335 of the Constitution.

Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) empower the State to make reservation in matters of appointment and promotion in favour of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes 'if in the opinion of the State they are not adequately represented in the services of the State'. It is for the State Government to decide whether reservations are required in the matter of appointment and promotions to public posts. The language in clauses (4) and (4-A) of Article 16 is clear, according to which, the inadequacy of representation is a matter within the subjective satisfaction of the State. The State can form its own opinion on the basis of the material it has in its possession already or it may gather such material through a Commission/Committee, person or authority. All that is required is that there must be some material on the basis of which the opinion is formed. The Court should show due deference to the opinion of the State which does not, however, mean that the opinion formed is beyond judicial scrutiny altogether. The scope and reach of judicial scrutiny in matters within the subjective satisfaction of the executive are extensively stated in Barium Chemicals v. Company Law Board , which need not be reiterated.

While setting aside this direction issued the High Court, the bench observed that the State Government is not bound to make reservations and there is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions. It said:

"No mandamus can be issued by the Court directing the State Government to provide reservations. It is abundantly clear from the judgments of this Court in Indra Sawhney, Ajit Singh (II), M. Nagaraj and Jarnail Singh (supra) that Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) are enabling provisions and the collection of quantifiable data showing inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public service is a sine qua non for providing reservations in promotions. The data to be collected by the State Government is only to justify reservation to be made in the matter of appointment or promotion to public posts, according to Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) of the Constitution. As such, collection of data regarding the inadequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes, as noted above, is a pre requisite for 20 | P a g e providing reservations, and is not required when the State Government decided not to provide reservations. Not being bound to provide reservations in promotions, the State is not required to justify its decision on the basis of quantifiable data, showing that there is adequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes in State services. Even if the under-representation of Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes in public services is brought to the notice of this Court, no mandamus can be issued by this Court to the State Government to provide reservation in light of the law laid down by this Court in C.A. Rajendran (supra) and Suresh Chand Gautam (supra). " 

The court also refused the plea that the decision in Suresh Chand Gautam v. State of U.P should be reconsidered. It said:

We are in agreement with the decision of this Court in Suresh Chand Gautam (supra) in which it was held that no mandamus can be issued by the Court to the State to collect quantifiable data relating to adequacy of representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public services. 
Case name: Mukesh Kumar & Anr. Vs. State of Uttarakhand 
Case no.: Civil Appeal No. 1226 of 2020
Coram: Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta
Counsel for Respondents: Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave and Colin Gonsalves, and Advocate Dr. K. S. Chauhan
Counsel for Appellant/State: Sr. Advocates Ranjit Kumar, Mukul Rohtagi and P.S. Narsimha

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