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Need for quantifiable data for reservation: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court observed that members of SC/ST communities were constitutionally presumed to be backward.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2018 23:07 IST
HT Correspondent
Supreme Court,Scheduled Castes,Scheduled Tribes
The Supreme Court reserved its verdict on a clutch of petitions seeking reconsideration by a seven-judge bench of its 2006 verdict in the M Nagraj case which had put conditions for granting quota benefits in job promotions to SC/ST employees.(HT File Photo)

There is a need for “quantifiable data” to determine the backwardness of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for providing benefits of reservation in promotion to the members of these communities, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra reserved verdict on a batch of petitions demanding reconsideration of the 2006 Nagaraj judgement, which held that state was not bound to provide reservation for SC/STs in promotions. In case a state wished to make such a provision, it should be backed by a quantifiable data showing inadequate representation of the community in public employment. The Nagaraj verdict also required the State to ensure that reservations do not breach the 50% ceiling or adversely affect the creamy layer or extend it indefinitely.

“Quantifiable data, in our view, as a basis is unavoidable”, CJI Misra said, even as the Centre asserted that the stigma of caste printed on the forehead of an SC/ST never disappears. “There has to be advancement and there has to be reservation. But there has to be balance. That is what Nagaraj says”, the CJI pointed out.

However, wrapping up arguments on behalf of the Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal maintained there was no need for testing the backwardness of SC/ST employees while granting promotion. He said the discrimination still exists though the position of SC/ST has improved to some extent in the last 70 years..

First Published: Aug 30, 2018 21:39 IST