Supreme Court upholds High court’s decision to quash quota in promotion
The Allahabad high court on January 4, 2011 had dubbed it “unconstitutional” and struck it down following at least 50 petitions by employees associations from across the state. Following this, a special leave petition was filed in the Supreme Court against the order by the Bahujan Samaj Party government and some organisations.
Terming the SC decision to quash reservation in promotion as a milestone, the state government employees of general category burst into celebrations on Friday. The decision will benefit nearly 18 lakh UP government employees — mainly of the general and OBC category — who have been waiting for their promotions for the past five years.
The issue dates back to 2007, when Mayawati came to power and introduced reservation in promotions. The BSP government introduced the policy that stipulated reservation for SC employees in the first stage of their promotion and that of the benefit of consequential seniority in successive promotions under Rule 8-A of the UP Government Servants Seniority (Third amendment) Rules, 2007.
However, on January 4, 2011, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi ruled that there is no provision of reservation in promotion with respect to government services in Uttar Pradesh. It also struck down rule 8A of the consequential seniority rules as amended in 2007, holding that they are not in conformity with the Supreme Court directives. Also, the court quashed a number of seniority lists of various government departments, which had been prepared on the basis of the said rules.
The Mayawati government had then moved a special leave petition in the Supreme Court following which the high court order was stayed.
Things started changing with the change of guard in Uttar Pradesh in March when SP rode to power. In fact, the high-level committee, headed by UP chief secretary Jawed Usmani on March 28 issued a circular stating that the state government will abide by the high court’s order of January 4, 2011.
Employees under the aegis of Sarvajan Hitay Sanrakshan Samiti distributed sweets and hugged each other as soon as the news of the Supreme Court decision trickled in. “It is not the question of one’s victory or other’s defeat. It is a question of welfare of the state,” said president of the Samiti, Shailendra Dubey.
He said that there have been grave resentment and apprehensions among the employees vis-a-vis their future for the past five years. Dubey claimed that it will also benefit over two lakh SC/ST employees, who could not be promoted (as per their seniority) since the matter was sub judice.
The Samiti has asked the state government to promote officers and get the vacant positions filled as per the seniority. The Samiti also demanded notional promotion to those who retired from the service without taking their due promotions.
Executive member of Abhiyanta Sangh, Sandeep Pandey said, “It was because of the vacant positions that many development activities have been stalled in the state. That may resume now,” he said.
However, government employees belonging to the reserved category under the aegis of Arakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti termed the decision as “unfortunate”. Samiti president, KB Ram said that the officials of the reserved category will be filing a review petition in the Supreme Court. “We have asked the members to maintain restrain and continue to fight. It is unfortunate that the employees of the reserved category have been deprived of the benefits prescribed in the Constitution,” Ram said.