SC/ST promotion: Top Court upholds validity of Karnataka law

SC/ST promotion: Top Court upholds validity of Karnataka law

May 10, 2019

New Delhi: The Supreme Court this morning upheld the validity of a 2018 Karnataka law, granting reservation in promotion to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) employees in the State.

A Bench of Justices U.U. Lalit and D.Y. Chandrachud pointed out that the Karnataka government collected necessary data and cured the deficiencies noted in the B.K. Pavitra judgement of 2017.

“We have to come to conclusion that the challenge to the law is lacking in substance,” Justice Chandrachud, who pronounced the judgement, said. The Apex Court’s verdict comes as huge relief to the Karnataka government, which passed a new law on 2018 to “cure defects” in the previous legislation, cited by the Court in 2017 like no data on inadequacy of representation and its effect on overall efficiency of administration.

The Top Court said the Ratna Prabha Committee had undertaken the requisite exercise which led to the passage 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, 2017.’

The Court stressed on the principle of inclusiveness saying it can’t be completely disregarded for efficiency. “Equality is the product of inclusiveness,” the Court said, adding the Constitution has to be seen as a transformative document. The Court said the new law does not amount to usurpation of power and there is no validity of a challenge to the 2018 Act.

The Top Court had on Mar. 6 wrapped up hearing the arguments by general category and reserved category of employees as well as the Karnataka government. Thousands of SC/ST employees were demoted after the Feb. 9, 2017 judgement in the B.K. Pavitra case. The 2018 law was passed to protect the affected staff.

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