Chief Justice raises red flag again, this time over quota for job promotion | india news | Hindustan Times
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Chief Justice raises red flag again, this time over quota for job promotion

Making a case for revisiting the 2006 order, the petitioners said the test of backwardness ought not to be applied to SC/STs in view of earlier rulings which were given by larger benches.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2017 00:04 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Constitution bench,Supreme Court,SC/ST quota
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra (Hindustan Times)

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Wednesday took exception to a day-old order in which justice Kurien Joseph and justice R Bhanumathi asked a Constitution bench to decide if the quota benefit could be extended to promotions as well.

There was a need to revisit the top court’s 2006 order that said the state was not bound to extend quota benefit in promotions to government employees, the two judges said on Tuesday. They, however, left it to the CJI to decide on the judges who would hear the case.

Their order came barely five days after a five-judge bench led by justice Misra said the CJI was “the master of the roster” and would have the final word on the composition of benches.

The issue of roster arose after a two-judge bench headed by justice J Chelameswar referred a petition seeking a court-monitored probe into the alleged Lucknow medical college admission scam and allegations of bribery against judges to top five justices of the court.

In their order on Tuesday, justice Joseph and justice Bhanumathi said the questions posed in the petition involved interpretation of Constitution in the backdrop of the several court judgments, including the Mandal case that gave reservation to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in education and government jobs.

Making a case for revisiting the 2006 order, the petitioners said the test of backwardness ought not to be applied to SC/STs in view of earlier rulings which were given by larger benches.

“Can a two-judge bench directly refer a matter to a Constitution bench?” the CJI said.

Attorney general KK Venugopal cited Article 145 (3) of the Constitution in support of the two justices, saying a two-judge bench could directly send a matter to the larger bench if constitutional issues were involved.

The cases that pertain to constitutional matters are heard by at least five judges or more and such a bench is led by the CJI.

Some senior advocates opposed Venugopal’s submission but the court did not go into the correctness of the order.

The court referred the case to a five-judge bench which it said would only decide if the 2006 judgment needed to be revisited. The bench, it said, would not go into the merits of the judgment.

First Published: Nov 15, 2017 19:45 IST