LANDMARK JUDGMENT BY HON'BLE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA IN RESPECT OF RELAXATION OF QUALIFYING MARKS OF SC/ST CANDIDATES IN THE DEPARTMENTAL EXAMINATION
J U D G M E N T
In compliance with the Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of S. Vinod Kumar vs. Union of India (JT 1996(8) SC 643), the Central Government decided to omit the provisions of regulation 7(3) of the Central Secretariat Service Section Officers’ Grade/Stenographers’ Grade ‘B’ (Limited Departmental Competitive Examination) Regulations, 1964 which provides for relaxed qualifying standard in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes candidates to make up the deficiency in the reserved quota which has been rendered legally invalid and unenforceable. This is certified that no one is being adversely affected by giving this amendment retrospective effect.
Provided that nothing in this article shall prevent in making of any provision in favour of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes for relaxation in qualifying marks in any examination or lowering the standards of evaluation, for reservation in mattes of promotion to any class or classes of services or posts in connect with the affairs of the Union or of a State.
97. As stated above, clause (4-A) of Article 16 is carved out of clause (4) of Article 16. Clause (4-A) provides benefit of reservation in promotion only to SCs and STs. In S. Vinod Kumar v. Union of India this Court held that relaxation of qualifying marks and standards of evaluation in matters of reservation in promotion was not permissible under Article 16(4) in view of Article 335 of the Constitution. This was also the view in Indra Sawhney.
4. (2006)8 SCC 212 M. NAGARAJ AND OTHERS VS. UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS
98. By the Constitution (Eighty-second Amendment) Act, 2000 a proviso was inserted at the end of Article 335 of the Constitution which reads as under :
“Provided that nothing in this article shall prevent in making of any provision in favour of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes for relaxation in qualifying marks in any examination or lowering the standards of evaluation, for reservation in matters of promotion to any class or classes of services or posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.”
99. This proviso was added following the benefit of reservation in promotion conferred upon SCs and STs alone. This proviso was inserted keeping in mind the judgment of this Court in Vinod Kumar which took the view that relaxation in matters of reservation in promotion was not permissible under Article 16(4) in view of the command contained in Article 335. Once a separate category is carved out of clause (4) of Article 16 then that category is being given relaxation in matters of reservation in promotion. The proviso is confined to SCs and STs alone. The said proviso is compatible with the scheme of Article 16(4-A).
121. The impugned constitutional amendments by which Articles 16(4-A) and 16(4-B) have been inserted flow from Article 16(4). They do not alter the structure of Article 16(4). They retain the controlling factors or the compelling reasons, namely, backwardness and inadequacy of representation which enables the States to provide for reservation keeping in mind the overall efficiency of the State administration under Article 335. These impugned amendments are confined only to SCs and STs. They do not obliterate any of the constitutional requirements, namely, ceiling limit of 50% (quantitative limitation), the concept of creamy layer (qualitative exclusion), the sub-classification between OBCs on one hand and SCs and STs on the other hand as held in Indra Sawhney, the concept of post-based roster with inbuilt concept of replacement as held in R.K. Sabharwal.
122. We reiterate that the ceiling limit of 50%, the concept of creamy layer and the compelling reasons, namely, backwardness, inadequacy of representation and overall administrative efficiency are all constitutional requirements without which the structure of equality of opportunity in Article 16 would collapse.
123. However, in this case, as stated above, the main issue concerns the “extent of reservation”. In this regard the State concerned will have to show in each case the existence of the compelling reasons, namely, backwardness inadequacy of representation and overall administrative efficiency before making provision for reservation. As stated above, the impugned provision is an enabling provision. The State is not bound to make reservation for SCs/STs in matters of promotions. However, if they wish to exercise their discretion and make such provision, the State has to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of the class and inadequacy of representation of that class in public employment in addition to compliance with Article 335. It is made clear that even if the State has compelling reasons, as stated above, the State will have to see that its reservation provision does not lead to excursiveness so as to breach the ceiling limit of 50% or obliterate the creamy layer or extend the reservation indefinitely.
124. Subject to the above, we uphold the constitutional validity of the Constitution(Seventy-Seventh (Amendment) Act;1995: the Constitution (Eighty-first Amendment) Act, 2000; the Constitution (Eighty-second Amendment) Act, 2000 and the Constitution (Eighty-fifth Amendment) Act, 2001.
ROHTAS BHANKHAR & ORS
U.O.I. & ANR
Date : 15/07/2014 These appeals were called on for hearing today.
UPON hearing counsel the Court made the following
Civil Appeals are allowed in terms of reportable judgment.
[SIGNED REPORTABLE JUDGMENT IS PLACED ON THE FILE]
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