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The reservation policy in India has been the subject of various legal battles and court cases. Mukesh Kumar And Anr v. State of Uttarakhand And Ors is one such well-known case. Yugandhra SR explicates the details of this case.
In the democracy of India, reservation has always played one of the most pivotal roles for both the Central and state governments. Although it has been many years since we got independence, our nation still lacks equality in society. Reservation is the policy of favouring members of a disadvantaged group who suffer or had suffered from discrimination in the past and had been deprived of crucial needs. It is applicable to both education and employment.
It is intended to realize the promise of equality and social justice enshrined under various Articles of the Indian constitution such as Article 14, 38, 39 and 46. However, the benefits of reservations have increasingly accrued to the better-off and the more educated among the SCs and STs. This case deals with reservation policy with respect to promotion in the office of the state. The Hon’ble apex court took into consideration other cases with the same issue to once again clarify the doubts regarding reservation in promotion to public posts.
Case: Mukesh Kumar And Anr v. State of Uttarakhand And Ors
Bench: L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta
Decided on: 07 February 2020 Citation: Civil Appeal No. 1226 of 2020
The state government of Uttarakhand on 5th September 2012 made a decision that all posts in public services in the state shall be filled up without providing any reservations to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotions for the posts of Assistant Engineer (Civil) in the Public Works Department, Government of Uttarakhand.
A petition was filed before the High Court which struck down the proceeding made by the state government. However, the Hight Court realized flaws in its judgment on the review and modified that the State was obligated to collect quantifiable data regarding the inadequacy of representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public services and directed the state government to decide based on the data.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court included a group of appeals with the same subject matter and decided to dispose of them altogether.
- Whether the state government is bound to give reservations to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled tribes?
- Is it applicable to reservation for those classes in promotion also?
- Whether the right to claim reservation is a fundamental right?
- 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?
- The Hon’ble Apex court held that the state government is not bound to make a reservation for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled tribes promotion to public appointment or posts.
- No fundamental right can be claimed for reservation in promotions and no mandamus can be issued for the same.
- There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions.
- The data collected by the State government is only to justify to provide reservation to those classes of people and not otherwise.
- Not being bound to provide reservations in promotions, the State is not required to justify its decision on the basis of quantifiable data, showing that there is an adequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in State services.
- It also set aside the direction given by the High Court on 15.07.2019 that all future vacancies that are to be filled up by promotion in the posts of Assistant Engineer should only be from the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as it is wholly unjustified.
- 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. It is settled law that the State Government cannot be directed to provide reservations for appointment in public posts. The Apex court relied upon its judgments in Ajit Singh (II) v. State of Punjab, (1999) 7 SCC 209 and C.A. Rajendran v. Union of India, (1968) 1 SCR 721 to come to the above conclusion respectively.
- The collection of quantifiable data showing inadequacy or adequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public service is a sine qua non for providing reservations in promotions, which was supported by its earlier ruling in M. Nagaraj & Others v Union Of India & Others (2006) 8 SCC 212 and Indra Sawhney v. Union of India & Ors. (1992) Supp.3 SCC 217
- The state government relied on the judgment of the High Court of Uttarakhand in Vinod Prakash Nautiyal & Others v. State of Uttarakhand & Others W.P. (S/B) No.45 of 2011 by which Section 3(7) of the 1994 Act, relating to the provision of reservation in promotion was struck down.
- Even if the under-representation 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 the Court in Suresh Chand Gautam v. State of U.P. (2016) 11 SCC 113
- The collection of data regarding the inadequate representation of members of the said class is a prerequisite for providing reservations and is not required when the State Government has decided not to provide reservations.
VI. Importance of the Case
- The Judgment, in this case, highlighted that Art.16 (4) and Art.16(4-A) of the constitution are just enabling provisions. The State Government is not bound to make reservations and also the courts have no authority to compel the state government to do so.
- The State can allow reservation “if in the opinion of the State they are not adequately represented in the services of the State”. It is the discretion of the State Government to decide whether reservations are required in the matter of appointment and promotions to public posts.
- It also made clear that there is no fundamental right for any individual to claim reservation in promotions.
- The collection of data regarding the inadequate representation of members of such class is a prerequisite only for providing reservations. When its decision is being challenged, it has to then justify it by providing the data.
- westlawindia.com/maf/wlin/app/document?&suppsrguid= i0ad832f200000
- indiankanoon.org/doc/ 191551270/