The Supreme Court stay on a Madhya Pradesh high court order cancelling quota in promotion for SC/ST employees since 2002 has sparked off a fresh debate on reservation, with general category staffers deciding to challenge the move.
General category employees claimed that the apex court’s order was challengeable because the number of people who got promotion through quota was much higher than those of the unreserved cadre.
While the Anusuchit Jati Janjati Adhikari Evam Karamchari Sangh (AJJAKS) – an organisation championing the rights of the lower castes – claimed that only 18% of the employees were elevated to grade one, 28% to grade two, and 32% to grade three, records at Mantralaya tell a different story.
Official figures show that though the number of deputy secretary posts belonging to grade one cadre in Mantralaya is 14, only three officials of the general category hold this post, and they are about to retire. While SC/ST employees occupy 78.58% grade one posts, general category candidates occupy just 21.42%, the records say, adding that nearly 50,000 SC/ST employees were promoted through reservation since 2002.
While there are 65 undersecretary (class 1-level) posts, general category employees hold only 17. “This means that 74% of under secretary-level posts are occupied by SC/ST employees. Similarly, out of 176 section officer (class 2-level) posts, only 67 are held by general category staffers. Reserved category employees, on the other hand, occupy 62% of the posts,” the records say.
Ashok Sharma, president of the Madhya Pradesh Gazetted Officers’ Union, told Hindustan Times that the AJJAKS was making baseless claims. “One just has to count the numbers to see that less than 25% general category officers occupy class 1 government jobs. Many general category officers have retired waiting to be promoted,” Sharma said.
“A clerk belonging to the general category is not elevated to the post of section officer in his lifetime, but a clerk recruited through reservation lands the post of deputy secretary or additional secretary,” he added.
Ashok Ben, Bhopal district head of the AJJAKS, chose to differ. “It’s not possible that the number of SC/ST employees in higher positions is more than that in the general category. Even if the number of SC/ST employees is higher in some government departments, that doesn’t mean they were elevated through reservation. They might have been promoted through merit.”