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Is the state duty-bound to provide reservation in promotion in public services? written by Avdhesh Parashar student of Maharashtra National Law University Aurangabad
MUKESH KUMAR vs. STATE OF UTTARAKHAND 2020 SCC Online SC 148
The state of Uttarakhand was formed in the year 2001. On 05.09.2012 the State Government decided that all the public services in the State shall be filled up without providing any reservation to the reserved category (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes). Mr. Gyan Chand who was working as Assistant Commissioner and belonging to the Scheduled Caste community filed a writ petition in High Court of Uttarakhand for quashing the said order of State Government. The High Court relying on Indra Sawhney v. Union of India & Ors. and Jarnail Singh & Ors v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta & Ors. said that this order contrary to settled law and needs to struck down. Later an appeal was filed by Vinod Kumar and three others, belonging to Scheduled Caste working in PWD, filed a writ petition High Court to seeking a direction to State Government to prepare a separate list of eligible candidates according to the Public Service Commission Rules, 2003 and also to prepare a separate list for each category of eligible candidates of General, Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribes for promotion to the post of Assistant (civil) Engineer in PWD. A direction was given to State Government to form a department promotion Committee for promotion of posts of Assistant Engineer after providing reservation to Schedule Tribes and Schedule Castes. The High Court sought a direction to the State Government to implement reservation in promotion to only members of Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes for upcoming vacancies. Later a review petition was filed by Respondent i.e., State Government of Uttarakhand, and the High Court issued a direction to State Government to collect quantifiable data regarding the inadequate representation of the Scheduled Tribes and Castes in Public Services which would enable the State Government to provide reservation or not providing reservation. Aggrieved by the impugned order of High Court the present S.L.P. was filed by the Respondent i.e., State of Government.
- Whether the State Government is bound to make reservations in public posts.
- Whether the decision by the State Government not to provide reservations can be only on the basis of quantifiable data relating to the adequacy of representation of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The representative for State Government contended that the state is not duty-bound to provide reservation in promotion in public services. There is no need to collect quantifiable data after the state has decided to not provide reservations. They argued that there is no fundamental right to claim reservation in promotion. Article 16 (4) and Article 16 (4) (a) are merely enabling provisions. In Suresh Chand Gautam v. the State of UP, no direction can be given to State Government to collect quantifiable data based on which a decision to provide reservation in promotion should be taken, and also State is not bound to make reservations.
The representative for reserved category employees submitted that State can’t refuse to collect quantifiable data regarding adequacy or inadequacy of representation of SC/ST in public services. Further, they argued that the state has a duty to provide reservation in promotion for the upliftment of members of Scheduled Tribes and Schedule Caste as provided in Article 16 (4) and Article 16 (4)
(A) of the Constitution of India. They argued that State can’t provide reservation only after when there is an adequate representation of SC/STs members in public services and for the same, a committee was formed by the Government of Uttarakhand. The Committee submitted its report which says that there is an inadequate representation of SC/STs members in government services. The representative contended that the state has a duty to provide reservation on the basis of the data collected by the committee.
The Judgement, in this case, came in the favor of appellants. The observation was that Article 16(4) and Article 16 (4) (a) are enabling provisions. The state is not bound to make reservations in the promotion of public services. It was said that even if the state government agrees to provide reservation in promotion in public posts then it has to show that there is an inadequate representation of SC/STs members in public services but if the state government has already been decided that it’s not going to provide reservation then no mandamus (to produce the quantifiable data) can be issued from this court.