Aug 23, 2021 19:36 UTC
Aug 30, 2021 at 18:00 UTC
Case Study: Mukesh Kumar v. The State of Uttrakhand & Ors.
“Reservation is not a Fundamental Right”
Citation: 2020 SCC OnLine SC 148
Date of Judgement: 7th February 2020
Bench: Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta
The Uttar Pradesh Public Services (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) Act, 1994 provided for the reservation in public services and posts for persons belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
Accordingly, Section 3(1)of the 1994, Act provided for reservation for direct recruitment, and Section 3(7) of the 1994, Act provided reservation for appointments to the public posts to be filled by promotion which was existing on the date of commencement of the 1994 Act shall continue till they are modified or revoked.
After the formation of the State of Uttrakhand in 2001, The Uttar Pradesh Public Services (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) Act, 1994 was made applicable to the State of Uttrakhand by Notification dated 30.08.2001 with modification in percentage of reservations.
In Prem Kumar Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2011) 3 ALL LJ 343 the Allahabad High Court declared that Section 3(7) of the 1994, Act and Rule 8-A of the Seniority Rules to be unconstitutional.
In Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation v. Rajesh Kumar (2006) 8 SCC 212 the Apex Court held that Section 3(7) of the 1994, Act to be unconstitutional.
Further, the High Court of Uttrakhand in Vinod Prakash Nautiyal & Ors. v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors. W.P. (S/B) No.45 of 2011 relied upon the judgement of U.P. Power Corporation v. Rajesh Kumar declared Section 3(7) of the 1994, Act unconstitutional and directed that no promotion can be given by the State by taking recourse to Section 3(7) of the 1994, Act.
On 05.09.2012, the Uttarakhand Government notified that all posts in public services in the state shall be filled up without providing any reservations to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Through the Writ Petition in Gyan Chand v. State Of Uttarakhand And Ors, the Uttrakhand High Court referring to the Apex Court’s judgement in Jarnail Singh & Ors. v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta & Ors. (2018) 10 SCC 396 struck down this notification of the state government with a view that Article 16 (4) of the Constitution is an enabling provision. The High Court observed that it is not necessary for the State Government to collect quantifiable data regarding the representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in State services or regarding their backwardness before providing reservation in their favour in promotion posts, and thus the notification dated 05.09.2012 was not set aside.
Vinod Kumar and three others belonging to the Scheduled Castes working in PWD Uttarakhand filed a Writ Petition in High Court seeking direction to the State Government to prepare a separate list for each category of eligible candidates of General, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes for promotion to the post of Assistant Engineer (Civil) in PWD. The Writ Petition was disposed of by the High Court on 15.07.2019 with a direction to the State Government to implement reservations in promotion by promoting only members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in future vacancies to maintain the quota earmarked for the said categories.
The Uttrakhand Government filed an application for a review of the judgment in Gyan Chand v. State Of Uttarakhand And Ors. wherein the High Court clarified that State Government is obligated to collect quantifiable data regarding the inadequacy of representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in state services before providing reservation in promotion and was also directed to take a decision whether to provide reservation or not, only after considering the data relating to the adequacy or inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the services of the State, within a period of four months
from the date of receipt of the judgement.
Thus, the Uttrakhand State Government appealed in Supreme Court contending that there is no fundamental right to claim reservation in appointments or promotions to public posts.
Firstly, the Supreme Court ruled that the State Government is not bound to make reservations in promotions on public posts for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Secondly, No fundamental right to claim reservation in promotions on public posts by any individual.
Thirdly, No Mandamus can be issued by the Court to the State Government to provide reservation.
Fourthly, the collection of data by the State Government is only made for justifying the reservation in the matter of appointment and promotion for the public post as per Articles 16(4) and 16(4A) of the Indian Constitution.
Key Law Positions Established in the case:
- Is State Government obliged to provide reservation in appointment and promotion to members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by Articles 16 and 16(4-A) of the Constitution?
The Apex court referring to the judgements in Indra Sawhney, Ajit Singh (II), M. Nagaraj and Jarnail Singh cases opined that Articles 16 and 16(4-A) are enabling provisions and the state is not obligated to provide reservations. Therefore no fundamental right can be claimed by any individual for grant of reservation. However, the State Government was given the liberty to bring out another legislation in accordance with the mandate of the Constitution of India.
- Can Court give directions to the State Government to collect quantifiable data to provide reservation?
The Apex court affirmed with the direction of the High Court in Suresh Chand Gautam v. State of U.P (2016) 11 SCC 113 that no Mandamus can be issued by the court to the state to collect quantifiable data relating to the adequacy of representation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public services.
- Do the inadequate representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public services bounds State Government to provide reservation?
The Apex court noted that the collection of data regarding the inadequate representation of members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is a pre-requisite for providing reservations. However it is NOT REQUIRED when the state decides NOT to provide reservations. So far, the state is not bound to justify itself on the basis of quantifiable data showing that there is an adequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in State services.