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Published On: Sun, Feb 9th, 2020

No fundamental right to claim reservation: SC

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supreme-court-india-flagNEW DELHI : In a major judgement, the Top Court has said that there is “no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions”, and also no court can order a state government to provide for reservation to SC/STs.

There is no fundamental right to claim reservation in public jobs and no court can order a state government to provide for reservation to SC/STs, the Supreme Court has ruled.
The top court has ruled that it is within absolute discretion of a state government to decide whether or not to provide for reservation or reservation in promotions, and that there is no obligation on the states to mandatorily do so.A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta said, “In view of the law laid down by this Court, there is no doubt that the State Government is not bound to make reservations.
There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions. No mandamus can be issued by the Court directing the State Government to provide reservations.”

It clarified that a state government is bound to collect data regarding inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Government services when it wants to provide reservation but otherwise. The court said provisions in Article 16 for providing reservation in favour of SC/STs are enabling provisions, vesting a discretion on the state government.
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 since such statistics will have to be placed before a court when a challenge is laid to the reservation policies, according to the bench.

It further said the inadequacy of representation of SC/STs is a matter within the subjective satisfaction of the State, subject to limited scope of judicial scrutiny because “it is for the State Government to decide whether reservations are required in the matter of appointment and promotions to public posts”.
The bench held both the directions to be unjustifiable in light of the law laid down by the top court and set them aside.

 

At that time senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Colin Gonsalves and Dushyant Dave had argued the state had a duty to help SCs/STs under Articles 16(4) and 16(4-A) of the Constitution.
The top court pointed out that while these articles give power to make reservations, it did so only “if in the opinion of the state they are not adequately represented in the services of the state”.
“It is settled law the state cannot be directed to provide reservations for appointment in public posts. Similarly, state is not bound to make reservation for SCs/STs in matters of promotions,” the court said.
Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan, who this week demanded a bill on reservation for women in legislatures, criticised the judgment, calling it “entirely against the concept of reservation” and urging the government to “restore reservation as provided under the Constitution of India”.
In 2018 a five-judge Constitution Bench said the “creamy layer” could not get benefits of reservation in government jobs. In December last year the centre requested a seven-judge bench to review this.
(With Agency Inputs ).

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