The Himachal Pradesh government has come under the Apex Court’s direct line of fire for “skillfully avoiding” implementation of policy for providing seniority to the scheduled caste/tribe government employees in promotion on the pretext of awaiting outcome of the 117th Constitution amendment. This has ultimately resulted in continuance of the Apex Court’s January 7 stay on any promotion across the board for the next three months.
Unamused by the state government’s justification, the Supreme Court has granted three months’ time to the state government to take final decision on implementation of the policy either on the basis of quantifiable data of SC/ST already submitted to the cabinet sub-committee on April 25, 2011, or on the basis of data reflecting position as on June 30, 2011.
The division bench comprising justices Surinder Singh Nijjar and Pinaki Chandra Ghose while allowing an interlocutory application filed by the HP Scheduled Tribes Employees Federation observed, “This cat and mouse game has gone far enough.”
The court was of the view that it saw no relevance of the 117th amendment to the implementation by the state of its earlier decision making reservation in promotions.
Strictures against state government
Taking the state to task, the court said, “Issuance of so many circulars is indication of the intention of the state not to comply with the earlier decision to implement the policy of reservation in promotions and grant of consequential seniority.”
Passing strictures against the state for making statements before the court just to avoid decision on merits, the court said, “When a statement is made before this court it is, as a matter of course, assumed that it is made sincerely and is not an effort to overreach the court.” The court further added that the statements were not expected to be “flippant, mischievous, misleading and certainly not false.”
The court’s wrath came with regard to the state government’s statement made on April 26, 2010, that the state intended to collect more details with regard to representation of the SCs/STs and to pass appropriate orders within three months. But the matter is still hanging in balance even after over three years.
The HP Scheduled Tribes Employees Federation and others had in March 2012 moved an interlocutory application in already filed special leave petition in 2009. The petitioners had sought directions to the Himachal Pradesh government to take a decision on reservation in promotions on data submitted to the cabinet sub-committee on April 25, 2011, within a period of one month.
What is 117th Constitution amendment Bill, 2012
The purpose of 117th amendment bill is to clear that nothing can prevent the state from making any provision for reservation in matters of promotions with consequential seniority to any class of posts in the services under the state in favour of scheduled castes/tribes to the extent of percentage of reservation.