Mukesh Kumar v. State Of Uttarakhand ((2020) 3 SCC 1)
Mukesh Kumar v. State Of Uttarakhand
(2020) 3 SCC 1 : (2020) 1 SCC (L&S) 433
Supreme Court of India
Division Bench - Hon’ble Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Hon’ble Justice Hemant Gupta
ALSO KNOWN AS
Reservation in Promotion Case
POINT OF CONSIDERATION
Reservations to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotions vis-a vis Article 16(4) and Article 16-4A of the Constitution of India
The case relates to appeals pertaining to the reservations to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotions in the posts of Assistant Engineer (Civil) in Public Works Department, Government of Uttarakhand.
The Uttar Pradesh Public Services (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) Act, 1994 (for short “the 1994 Act”) provided for reservation in public services and posts in favour of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes of citizens. Section 3(1) of the said Act stipulated reservation at the stage of direct recruitment.
After the formation of the State of Uttarakhand in 2001, the Uttar Pradesh Public Services (Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Caste Reservation) Act, 1994 was made applicable to the State of Uttaranchal by a Notification dated 30.08.2001 with a modification in the percentage of reservations. [21% reservation for Scheduled Castes was modified to 19% and 2% for Scheduled Tribes was increased to 4%. Likewise, 21% reservation provided in the 1994 Act for Other Backward Classes was altered to 14%.]
A Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad in Mukund Kumar Shrivastava v. State of U.P. upheld the validity of Rule 8-A of the Uttar Pradesh Servants Government Seniority Rules, 1991 (for short “the Seniority Rules”) which dealt with consequential seniority of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
In Prem Kumar Singh v. State of U.P. (2011) 3 ALL LJ 343 the High Court declared Section 3(7) of the 1994 Act and Rule 8-A of the Seniority Rules unconstitutional.
Later, the supreme court in its judgment in Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation v. Rajesh Kumar held that Section 3(7) of the 1994 Act is unconstitutional insofar as it is contrary to the dictum in M. Nagaraj & Ors. v. Union of India & ors.
The challenge to Section 3(7) of the 1994 Act, as extended to the State of Uttarakhand, was upheld by the India & Ors. High Court of Uttarakhand in Vinod Prakash Nautiyal & Others v. State of Uttarakhand & Others .
On 05.09.2012, the State Government decided that all posts in public services in the State shall be filled up without providing any reservations to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. All Government Orders to the contrary were superseded by the proceeding dated 05.09.2012.
A Petition was filed in the Allahabad High Court against this. The High Court by its judgment dated 01.04.2019 struck down the proceeding dated 05.09.2012 as being contrary to the law declared by the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney v. Union of India & Ors. and Jarnail Singh & Ors. v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta & Ors. the judgments of this Court in M. Nagaraj (supra) and Jarnail Singh.
The High Court held that Article 16(4) of the Constitution was an enabling provision and held that the state is not bound to provide reservation and the same directions were contested in the Supreme Court in the current appeal.
ISSUES RAISED & RATIO
Whether the State Government is bound to make reservations in public posts?
Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) do not confer fundamental right to claim reservations in promotion. By relying upon earlier judgments of the Supreme Court, it was held in Ajit Singh’s case 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. It is settled law that the State Government cannot be directed to provide reservations for appointment to public posts. Similarly, the State is not bound to make reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in matters of promotions. No mandamus can be issued by the Court directing the State Government to provide reservations.
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.
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?
Article 16 (4) and 16 (4-A) empower the State to make reservations 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 language in clauses (4) and (4-A) of Article 16 is clear, according to which, 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 Court should show due deference to the opinion of the State which does not, however, mean that the opinion formed is beyond judicial scrutiny altogether.
It is abundantly clear from the judgments of the apex 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.
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 adequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes in State services. Even if the under- representation of Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes in public services is brought to the notice of the Supreme Court, no mandamus can be issued by SC to the State Government to provide reservation.
The Appeals were disposed of accordingly.
IMPORTANT CASES REFERRED
Suresh Chand Gautam v. State of U.P. (2016) 11 SCC 113
Ajit Singh (II) v. State of Punjab, (1999) 7 SCC 209
C.A. Rajendran v. Union of India, (1968) 1 SCR 721
Barium Chemicals v. Company Law Board AIR 1967 SC 295
Indra Sawhney v. Union of India (1992) Supp. (3) SCC 217
Jarnail Singh v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta (2018) 10 SCC 396
Mukund Kumar Shrivastava v. State of U.P (2011) 1 ALL LJ 428
Prem Kumar Singh v. State of U.P. (2011) 3 ALL LJ 343
Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation v. Rajesh Kumar (2012) 7 SCC 1
M. Nagaraj & Ors. v. Union of India & ors. (2006) 8 SCC 212
Vinod Prakash Nautiyal & Others v. State of Uttarakhand & Others W.P. (S/B) No.45 of 2011
Suresh Chand Gautam v. State of U.P. (2016) 11 SCC 113
The author is a law graduate from the University School of Law and Legal studies, GGS IP University, New Delhi.