After coming to power in 2014, BJP/RSS government at centre along with states it is ruling is playing with the reservation granted to SC/ST/OBCs. SC/ST/OBC students’ scholarships are not issued on time and there is a huge backlog of appointment of these communities in various educational institutions. Apart from these, atrocities on Dalits and minority communities are on rising in BJP ruled states.
On Friday, 04th August 2017, Bombay High Court overruled the 2004 government’s resolution which provided SC, ST, special backward classes and de-notified tribes reservation in promotions.
Among these communities, such an action is seen as further attempts by RSS/BJP government to end representation of these communities from all the spheres of lives.
A division bench of Justices Anoop Mohta and Amjad Sayed held that the resolution was “ultra vires” (beyond the scope) of the Constitution of India and contrary to the existing laws.
Bombay High Court directed the government to take necessary corrective actions with regard to the promotions already granted since the 2004 resolution was issued. It means thousands of SC/ST/BCs/DNT might lose their promotion and would be demoted. Not only demoted but would be forced to pay back-wages.
There could also be a large number of people who may have retired after benefiting from the policy, and the judgment could affect them adversely – not only could their pensions be readjusted, but they may even have to repay the excess pension received.
We strongly disagree with the Bombay High Court’s decision. On the first place, SC/ST/BCs/DNT seats are not fulfilled as reservation policies are not implemented properly by those who are sitting at the high positions (almost all so-called upper castes). Next, SC/ST/BCs/DNT are not let to progress in career, despite having knowledge and experience they still face caste discrimination in the hands of so-called upper castes those have grabbed top positions with references and ‘jugad’.
Confidential Report (CR), on the basis of which promotion is done, is written by so-called upper caste bosses and there are many reports where there were discriminatory practices while writing performance report for SC/ST/BCs/DNT employees.
Discriminative methods such as ruining someone’s CR, or using the source to get some relative promoted, or making some reserved candidate a scapegoat are widespread in the society.
Bombay High Court should have realised that the situation of these communities is not going to change until this top level positions is not breached and the mindset of people is not changed.
How are members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes faring in the government hierarchy? At the very top level of the government bureaucracy, out of a total of 149 secretary-level officers, there were no SC officers while there were only 4 ST officers, as of March 2011, according to a reply given by the MoS in the Prime Minister’s Office. If you look at all central government employees, 17% of them were SC while 7.4% were ST. This appears to be fulfilling the mandated norms of 15% SC and 7.5% ST. But there is a catch. There is a deep skew of SC/ST members in the hierarchy of central government jobs — as you move up the ladder, there are less and less employees /officers from SC/ST. Among Group A officers, only 11.1% were SC and 4.6% ST. In Group B, the shares were 14.3% and 5.5%, respectively. In group C, there were 16% SC and 7.8% ST, slightly more than the quota . And in Group D, there were 19.3% SC and 7% ST. This high proportion of SC in Group D is because nearly 40% of “safai karamcharies” are SC. [Source]
The situation for SC/ST/BCs/DNT employees is not different in each and every state of India.
Bombay High Court’s decision is a direct violation of Article 335 of the Constitution of India, 1949.
The claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State
The concept of reservation in Article 16(4) is hedged by three constitutional requirements, namely, backwardness of a class, inadequacy of representation in public employment of that class and overall efficiency of the administration. Have backwardness of SC/ST/BCs/DNT communities ended? Don’t they face discrimination anymore? Above data clearly shows that the inadequacy of representation in public employment of these communities, then how can Bombay High Court declare such an order of ending reservation in promotions?
How would government consistently maintain the efficiency of administration by ignoring SC/ST/BCs/DNT employees in promotion?
The objective of Article 16 (4) is the empowerment of the deprived weaker sections of the society and give them a share in the administrative services and the governance of the country. But reservation in promotion has been denied to many because of the long court cases hence excluding these communities from what is promised by the constitution of India.