The Bihar government’s resolution that provided for reservation with consequential seniority in promotions to government employees belonging to SC and ST categories was set aside by the Patna high court.
A single bench presided by Justice V. Nath allowed the writ petition filed by a government employee Sushil Kumar Singh and others which challenged the resolution of August 21, 2012. The petitioners alleged flaws in the data on the basis of which the government decided to give reservation in promotions for the SC and ST employees.
Petitioners’ counsel Bindhyachal Singh said the state government’s resolution was not in accordance with the norms laid down by the apex court in the M. Nagaraj versus Union of India case (October 2006). The apex court had said the state must demonstrate backwardness, inadequacy of representation and maintenance of efficiency before providing reservation in promotions. All this was ignored by the state government, he said.
Singh referred to earlier apex court rulings on reservation and the constitutional mandate in this regard. He said Article 16 (4A) says nothing in this Article shall prevent the state from making any provision for reservation in appointments or posts in favour of backward class citizens which, in the opinion of the state, is not adequately represented in the government services.
However, if this discretion was to be exercised, the state had to first collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public appointments in addition to compliance of Article 335 of the Constitution, Singh said and added there shouldn’t be any reservation on consequential seniority as well.