The Karnataka Cabinet on Wednesday decided to setup a Cabinet sub-committee to study the recent SC order that struck down reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe employees.
The State has had reservation in promotions for SC, ST employees since 1978 – 15% for SCs and 3% for STs – which has been struck down by the SC. The State has already filed a review petition challenging the order.
The issue has political implications in poll-bound Karnataka, with Dalit groups demanding that the government find ways to circumvent the order.
What was the SC judgement?
On February 9, the SC declared the Karnataka Determination of Seniority of the Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation Act invalid to the extent it accorded consequential seniority to SC and ST employees in public offices without carrying out the requisite exercise under Article 16(4A). The Supreme Court in M. Nagaraj’s case of 2006 as well held that the State must demonstrate backwardness, inadequacy of representation and maintenance of efficiency before providing reservation in promotion under Article 16(4).
The SC added that if the state has not conducted the requisite exercise under Article 16(4A), the judicially evolved ‘catch-up’ rule will fully apply to control the extent of reservation.
What is consequential seniority?
Consequential Seniority in laymen terms means the seniority attained as a consequence of promotion. Suppose A and B are on the same post at a given point of time, but A is 2 years senior than B. B get promoted earlier than A due to his SC status. Now when A will get promotion to the post that B got promoted to earlier, B will be senior to A by the number of years after which A got the promotion to the same post. This despite the fact that initially A was senior than B.
What is the judicially evolved ‘catch-up’ rule?
The ‘catch-up’ rule was explained in the Nagaraj judgement, holding that if a senior general candidate was promoted after SC and ST candidates, he would gain his seniority on promotion in relation to the juniors who had been promoted against reserved vacancies.
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