The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Madhya Pradesh government to “maintain status quo” in the MP high court order that quashed quota in promotions for state government jobs.
It asked the government to neither promote nor demote anyone promoted under the 2002 Madhya Pradesh Public Service Rules – that reserve 16% posts for scheduled castes and 20% for scheduled tribes in elevations – till the final hearing in the politically sensitive matter.
The Madhya Pradesh high court had struck down reservations for scheduled castes and tribes in government job promotions on April 30.
The division bench of the high court, comprising chief justice AM Khanwilkar and justice Sanjay Yadav, had also asked the state government to demote those promoted under the 2002 Madhya Pradesh Public Service Rules till date.
“All promotions under the Rules of 2002 will be reverted and the gradation lists of various departments will have to be redrawn,” advocate Amol Shrivastava said on April 30. The order affected over 30,000 employees and officers in MP with possible implications in other states.
On Thursday, a bench of justices J Chelameshwar and AM Sapre admitted the special leave petition (SLP) of the MP government. It is likely to hear the matter on third week of September. SLP allows people to take special permission to be heard in appeal against any high court/tribunal verdict.
The state government had moved the apex court seeking nullification of the high court order that quashed reservation for SCs/STs in matters of promotion.
However, employee organisations representing non-scheduled caste and tribe (SC/ST) employees termed the apex court order as a victory.
“We welcome the Supreme Court’s direction on maintaining status quo,” said Anand Singh Kushwaha, president of Samanya Pichda Evam Alpsankhyak Varg Adhikari Karmchari Sangh (SAPAKS) — an employees’ organisation representing the interests of non-SC/ST employees.
Counsel Amol Shrivastava, who appeared for petitioner RB Rai in the case at the MP high court and Supreme Court, said: “The state government will not be able to carry out any more promotions based on reservation. Also the state government will not be able to revert those promoted earlier as ordered in the Madhya Pradesh high court verdict.”
SC: State not bound to make reservation in promotion
The Supreme Court in an earlier order had held that the states were not bound to make reservation for SCs/STs in matters of promotion. However, if the state government wished to exercise the discretion and make such a provision, it had to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment in addition to compliance with Article 335 of the Indian Constitution.