Maharashtra to go to top court for SC/ST promotion quotas
MUMBAI: In what could bring relief to SC/ST and backward class government employees, the state government has decided to approach the Supreme Court, taking note of its recent decision relating to a Karnataka law that allows ‘reservation in promotion’ for SC/ST employees.
There are over 15,000 SC/ST, VJNT (Vimukta Jati, Nomadic Tribes), and SBC (Special Backward Classes) employees in Maharashtra, whose promotions had to be stopped following a 2017 Bombay high court (HC) verdict that struck down a 2004 government resolution (GR) granting promotion- stage quotas to such government employees.
On May 2019, the Supreme Court upheld a Karnataka law that allows reservations in promotions for SC/ST employees with consequential seniority. The court noted that inclusiveness was part of equality in any society. The Maharashtra government will argue along similar lines to open lines of promotion for its SC/ST, VJNT and SBC employees.
A special leave petition (SLP) on the matter was filed by the state government before the apex court’s Karnataka ruling. The SLP is pending with the SC.
The 2004 GR provided 33% reservation in promotions for the said communities for officials at the under-secretary, deputy secretary and secretary levels in various state government departments as well as in bodies like the BMC and BEST.
After the August 2017 Bombay HC verdict, 27,000 promotions, including of candidates from open categories, had to be put on hold. But in January 2018, the law and judiciary department gave a go ahead to promotions for open category candidates, subject to the apex court’s decision.
The catch for the state government is that the Karnataka law that the SC upheld was for promotions only for SC/ST employees, whereas Maharashtra has in its ambit VJNT and SBC employees as well. “It is up to the apex court, but our intention is clear. All these communities need to be uplifted by maintaining a policy of ‘reservation in promotion’,” said a senior official in the state secretariat.