North East

Gauhati HC Landmark Judgement: SC, ST official should be promoted based on performance rather than backgrond


In a landmark judgement, Gauhati High Court has ruled  that the people, representing the Scheduled caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) , would no longer be  promoted in the State Government services just because they being to the backward classes, rather the promotion should be done cadre-wise maintaining overall efficiencies in the administration.

It may be mentioned that a One Man Commission was appointed to study the whole process of promotion in State Government services.

Justice Ujjal Bhuyan of Gauhati HC, giving verdict  in writ petition filed by Equality Forum challenging reservation in promotion for STs and SCs in government services in the State held  that “What the One-Man Commission has done is that it has made a general statement about backwardness of SCs and STs and has not provided quantifiable data either on backwardness or on inadequacy of representation having regard to the promotional posts.”  In the judgment Justice Bhuyan further observed that “whether there is adequate representation or not has to be decided cadre-wise having regard to the service where the cadre is placed. Once it is found that in a particular Cadre there is adequate representation of SCs and STs providing for representation  to such communities in promotion too such cadre would not be justified.”

Justice Bhuyan in its judgement also held that  “the concept of creamy layer is not acceptable to SCs and STs .  However having said that Court is of the considered opinion that the above factor would be relevant only at the time of initial recruitment”. In the judgment , Justice Bhuyan further held that “ At  the time of promotion, in the event , reservation is sought to be introduced, then an assessment of backwardness of the said communities having regard to their representation in the promotional cadre(s) would have to be carried out.”

The High Court strongly observed that “the adverse impact on administrative efficiency due to the presence of reserve category candidate in the cadre because of accelerated promotion on account of reservation in promotion due to reservation is required to be assessed by applying objective measurable standard”  “No doubt , it is a difficult task but nonetheless it has to be carried out if the State desires to provide for reservation in promotion,” Justice Ujjal Bhuyan added.

However, the Court made it clear that “the factum of SCs and STs being appointed /promoted against open/unreserved post in the State services is also a relevant factor to be considered while ascertaining both backwardness and inadequacy of representation.


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