Accelerated Promotion With Consequential Seniority For SC/ST In Public Employment



  • GS Mains Paper-1,2
  • Government Schemes and Policies, Polity, Judiciary

Why in news?

  • Recently the Centre told the Supreme Court that all SC/ST employees must get reservation in promotions.
  • The case is in relation to a 2006 Supreme Court verdict in M Nagaraj vs. Union of India case.

What was the 2006 verdict about?

  • In the 2006 verdict the SC had ruled that reservation in promotion of government servants was not mandatory for the state.
  • However, if the state wanted to exercise its discretion, they were free to do so.
  • The government can introduce a quota in promotion for its SC/ST employees only if they prove
  • that the particular Dalit community is backward
  • it was inadequately represented
  • such a reservation would not affect the overall efficiency of public administration
  • The opinion of the government should also be based on quantifiable data.
  • Hence, backwardness, inadequacy and administrative efficiency were “compelling reasons” for reservation.
  • But despite these, the state will have to ensure that its reservation provision does not lead to excessiveness.
  • This means that the state cannot breach the ceiling limit of 50% or eliminate the creamy layer or extend reservation indefinitely.
  • The judgement excluded the ‘creamy layer’ in SC/ST reservation during promotion.
  • The judgment said the three qualifiers were meant to prevent “reverse discrimination” by State.
  • However, the judgement was contested by the Centre and the constitution bench is now hearing it.

What were the concerns?

  • The Centre said the provision has led to a deprivation of the Dalit communities.
  • The government also objected to the creamy layer concept among the SC/ST as it was becoming a hindrance.
  • Besides, getting quantifiable data for “inadequate representation” had many procedural limitations.
  • Also, the elaborate exercise is leading to a large number of posts lying vacant.
  • The SC/ST communities have already faced centuries of deprivation at the hands of society.
  • They have been deprived of access to temples, schools and the basic facilities of life as they are “presumed backward”.

What does the Centre demand?

  • The Centre highlights the need to show “affirmative action” by giving SC/STs equality of opportunity.
  • It pushes for providing “accelerated promotion with consequential seniority” for SC/ST members in public employment.
  • “Consequential seniority” is when an SC/ST employee is promoted purely on reservation basis despite another person waiting for promotion is actually senior to him/her.
  • The Centre wanted a total of 22.5% (15% for SC+7.5% for ST) posts reserved for promotion for SC/ST in public employment.



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