Judgement Summary

Mukesh Kumar v State of Uttarakhand

Controversy regarding reservation in promotion for SC and ST.

Background-

  1. Uttar Pradesh Public Services (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) Act, 1994 ( Act of 1994) provides for reservation in promotion or the people belonging to SC and ST.
  2. After the state of Uttarakhand was formed the same act was made applicable to Uttarakhand also with reservation for SC being 19% and for ST as 4% and 14% for OBC.
  3. A few High Court decisions of UP held that, the Act was not valid as per the M. Nagraj V Union of India  (2006) 8 SCC 212. This is because, Nagraj asked to have quantifiable data for reservation in promotion. Without such data, reservation in promotion cannot be given.
  4. Similarly, Uttarakhand High Court in Vinod Prakash Nautiyal & Others v. State of Uttarakhand & Other followed the directions of U.P. Power Corporation v Rajesh Kumar (2012) 7 SCC 1 and declared the act as invalid. As per the direction of HC judgement in Vinod Prakash, the state government formed a committee for collecting quantifiable data.
  5. In 2012, the state government abolished all reservation in promotion with respect to SC and ST. Against this order, a case was filed in the HC. The HC of Uttarakhand held that, reservation it is not necessary for the State Government to collect quantifiable data regarding representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in State services or regarding their backwardness before providing reservation in their favour in promotion posts.
  6. A review petition was filled. High Court understood that there was an error apparent on their part in that case especially in view of Jarnail Singh v Laccmi Narayan Gupta.
  7. The High Court clarified that the State Government is obligated to collect quantifiable data regarding inadequacy of representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in state services before providing reservation in promotion. The High Court clarified that it is not necessary for the State Government to collect data regarding backwardness of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the light of the direction of this Court in Jarnail Singh
  8. The High Court also observed that the State is not obligated to provide reservation in promotions to members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as Article 16(4-A) of the Constitution is an enabling provision. However, reservation can be provided by the State Government only after collecting data regarding inadequacy of representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in state services
  9. As such, the High Court directed the State Government to collect quantifiable data regarding inadequacy of the representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Government services which would enable the State Government to take a considered decision on providing or not providing reservation. The State Government was directed to take a decision whether to provide reservation or not only after considering the data relating to the adequacy or inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the services of the State within a period of four months from the date of receipt of the judgment.
  10.  On this matter issue went to Supreme Court.

Argument –

  1. Counsel for state
    1. argued that there is no fundamental right to claim reservation in appointments or promotions to public posts. There is no constitutional duty on the part of the State Government to provide reservations. Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) are merely enabling provisions.
    1. there is no necessity for collection of any quantifiable data after the Government has taken a decision not to provide reservations. The collection of data, is required only to justify a decision to provide reservation.
    1. As per Suresh Chand Gautam v. State of U.P (2016) 11 SCC 113 no direction can be given by the Court to the State Government to collect quantifiable data on the basis of which a decision to provide reservation should be taken
  • Counsel for reserve category employee
    • argued that, the State cannot refuse to collect quantifiable data regarding the adequacy or inadequacy of representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public services
    • There is an obligation on the State to provide reservations in promotions for upliftment of the members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as mandated by Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) of the Constitution of India. The right to equality of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes cannot be defeated by the State Government by not discharging its constitutional obligation of implementing Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A).
    • the State has a duty to decide not to provide reservations only after the State is satisfied that the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are adequately represented in public posts on the basis of quantifiable data.
    • on behalf of the reserved category candidates that a Committee was constituted by the Government of Uttarakhand to collect quantifiable data regarding the adequacy of representation of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes in public posts in accordance with the judgment of this Court in M. Nagaraj.
    • According to the report submitted by the Committee, there is inadequate representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government services in the State of Uttarakhand. The said report was approved by the State Cabinet

Issue with the Court-

The issue was framed by the court as – “whether the State Government is bound to make reservations in public posts and whether the decision by the State Government not to provide reservations can be only on the basis of quantifiable data relating to adequacy of representation of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.”

Order of the court-

  1. Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) do not confer fundamental right to claim reservations in promotion
  2. it was held in Ajit Singh (II) (supra) that Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) are in the nature of enabling provisions, vesting a discretion on the State Government to consider providing reservations, if the circumstances so warrant
  3. As per C.A. Rajendran v. Union of India, (1968) 1 SCR 721 State Government cannot be directed to provide reservations for appointment in public posts
  4. Similarly, the State is not bound to make reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in matters of promotions. However, if they wish to exercise their discretion and make such provision, the State has to collect quantifiable data showing

inadequacy of representation of that class in public services. If the decision of the State Government to provide reservations in promotion is challenged, the State concerned shall have to place before the Court the requisite quantifiable data and satisfy the Court that such reservations became necessary on account of inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in a particular class or classes of posts without affecting general efficiency of administration as mandated by Article 335 of the Constitution

  • Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) empower the State to make reservation in matters of appointment and promotion in favour of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes ‘if in the opinion of the State they are not adequately represented in the services of the State’. It is for the State Government to decide whether reservations are required in the matter of appointment and promotions to public posts.
  • The inadequacy of representation is a matter within the subjective satisfaction of the State. The State can form its own opinion on the basis of the material it has in its possession already or it may gather such material through a Commission/Committee, person or authority. All that is required is that there must be some material on the basis of which the opinion is formed.
  • The scope and reach of judicial scrutiny in matters within the subjective satisfaction of the executive are extensively stated in Barium Chemicals v. Company Law Board AIR 1967 SC 295
  • Uttarakhand appointed a Committee for collection of quantifiable data pertaining to the adequacy or inadequacy of representation of the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public services in the State. The Committee submitted its report, according to which the representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is inadequate. The State Cabinet approved the recommendation of the Committee on 12.04.2012. Ultimately, the State Government by a proceeding dated 05.09.2012 decided to set aside all previous Government orders relating to reservation in promotions to Government services in the State. This is according to the subjective satisfaction of the state.
  • There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions
  • It is abundantly clear from the judgments of this Court in Indra Sawhney, Ajit Singh (II), M. Nagaraj and Jarnail Singh that Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) are enabling provisions and the collection of quantifiable data showing inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public service is a sine qua non for providing reservations in promotions.
  • The data to be collected by the State Government is only to justify reservation to be made in the matter of appointment or promotion to public posts, according to Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) of the Constitution.
  • collection of data regarding the inadequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes is a pre requisite for providing reservations, and is not required when the State Government decided not to provide reservations.
  • Even if the underrepresentation of Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes in public services is brought to the notice of this Court, no mandamus can be issued by this Court to the State Government to provide reservation in light of the law laid down by this Court in C.A. Rajendran  and Suresh Chand Gautam.
  • Suresh Chand Gautam held that no mandamus can be issued by the Court to the State to collect quantifiable data relating to adequacy of representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public services. The Court also supported this view.
  • Hence, the court held that-
    • Giving or not reservation benefits in promotional posts depends on the state government
    • If the state decides to give reservation benefits in promotion, it has to show quantifiable data. But if state does not decide to give reservation in promotion, no requirement for collection of quantifiable data be made mandatory.
    • No mandamus can be issued to the State to collect quantifiable data as per Suresh Chand Gautam and C.A. Rajendra  (imp).
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