The Madhya Pradesh high court’s decision to strike down reservation in promotions will reverse all the promotions of government employees and officers belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes that were made under the MP Public Services (Promotion) Rules, 2002, said legal experts.
The high court judgment, delivered by Chief Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice S Yadav, inter alia relied on Supreme Court guidelines in the case of M Nagraj versus Union of India in 2006. Earlier, the Allahabad high court too had referred to the same guidelines while striking down Mayawati government’s decision to grant reservation in promotions to government employees belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in 2011. The high court verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court in April 2012.
According to legal experts, the Digvijaya Singh-led government had left certain loopholes in the process while granting reservation in promotion to the government SC/ST employees and officers. The present BJP government too, they said, kept silent on the issue.
Legal experts said the Congress government should have carried out an exercise to collect quantifiable data to assess the extent of backwardness of the castes, which were to be given reservation in promotions. It should also have assessed if such a reservation would have increased the efficiency in administration and if the castes in questions did not have adequate representation in the service, they said.
Senior advocates Naman Nagrath, who stood for Anusuchit Jati Janjati Adhikari and Karmchari Sangh (AJJAKS), which opposed the petition on which the judgment was delivered on Saturday, and Ravinandan Singh, who was the counsel for the petitioner, are of the view that both the present and the former Congress governments committed a “folly” by not looking into the “loopholes” that were overlooked while framing the MP Public Services (Promotion) Rules, 2002.
“The state government did not look into these weak areas even after the high court pointed out the same in 2014,” Nagrath said.
General secretary of state AJJAKS, SL Suryanshi said the judgment would not only affect the SC/ST employees, but over 2.5 lakh general category employees too.
Twenty five petitions were filed one after another from 2011 to 2016
The petitions challenged Madhya Pradesh Public Services (Promotion) Rules, 2002 saying the rules stood contrary to constitutional provisions
Petitioners relied on the apex court judgment of M Nagaraj vs Union of India (2006) which had maintained that in every case where the state decides to provide reservation there must be circumstances, namely, ‘backwardness’ and ‘inadequacy of representation’
The apex court judgment said if the state fails to identify and measure backwardness, inadequacy and overall administrative efficiency then the provision for reservation would become invalid
The Jabalpur bench of HC turned down the data furnished by the state in support of the rules considering backwardness, inadequacy of representation as it was based on the population Census of 2001. It held that the data could be considered in the initial recruitment stage, but not be determinant in case of promotions, according to SC judgment of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited vs Rajesh Kumar (2012).