Justice V. Eshwaraiah, former chairperson of the National Commission for Backward Classes, has welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgment on reservation in promotions for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (SCs). The judgment, pronounced on 26 September 2018, has ended a long stalemate. According to Justice Eshwaraiah, this will give the deprived sections the opportunity to move ahead in life and a similar provision should be formulated for the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
He told FORWARD Press that the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court had ruled that reservation in promotion could be granted to SCs and STs under Article 16(4A) of the Constitution, thus nullifying the conditions imposed by the court in its judgment on the M. Nagaraj case in 2006.
The Nagaraj judgment stipulated that before granting reservation in promotion to an SC or ST community, it would be mandatory for the government to collect quantifiable data showing the backwardness of the particular community and its inadequate representation in public employment, in addition to compliance to Article 335.
Justice Eshwaraiah said that the Supreme Court has imposed the condition of creamy layer on OBCs for reservations but that it will be better if OBCs aren’t denied reservation in promotion due to this condition. He added that those who are most backward and poor should get a priority in reservation in promotion but in case of a backlog, even those in the creamy layer should be considered so that reserved posts do not remain vacant or are filled with general-category candidates.
Quoting a judgment of former chief justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Eshwaraiah said the objective of the creamy-layer condition is not to divide the deprived but to bring about equality among them. Those who are the weakest should get reservations, he said, but this does not mean the socially backward should be deprived of all opportunities.
Share of OBCs in services is still meagre: Kondala Rao
Constitutional expert Kondala Rao, who is well-conversant with OBC issues, told FORWARD Press that the 77th Constitutional amendment was enacted in 1995 to usurp the rights of the OBCs and deprive them of reservation in promotion. He said this was done even though the share of the OBCs in government jobs then was just 12 per cent, much lower than the 27 per cent recommended by the Mandal Commission, and less than 4 per cent in Group A services. Rao noted that the situation has not changed even today and that the share of the OBCs is meagre. To end this imbalance, he said, the OBCs should also be given reservation in promotion.
Translation: Amrish Herdenia; copy-editing: Anil
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