Reservation in Appointment/Promotion

It is settled law that the State Government cannot be directed to provide reservations for appointment in public posts [C.A. Rajendran, (1968) 1 SCR 721]. Similarly, the State is not bound to make reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in matters of promotions. However, if they wish to exercise their discretion and make such provision, the State has to collect quantifiable data showing inadequacy of representation of that class in public services. If the decision of the State Government to provide reservations in promotion is challenged, the State concerned shall have to place before the Court the requisite quantifiable data and satisfy the Court that such reservations became necessary on account of inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in a particular class or classes of posts without affecting general efficiency of administration as mandated by Article 335 [M. Nagaraj, (2006) 8 SCC 212].

Article 16(4) and 16(4-A) empower the State to make reservation in matters of appointment and promotion in favour of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, ‘if in the opinion of the State they are not adequately represented in the services of the State’. It is for the State Government to decide whether reservations are required in the matter of appointment and promotions to public posts. The language in clauses (4) and (4-A) of Article 16 is clear, according to which, the inadequacy of representation is a matter within the subjective satisfaction of the State. The State can form its own opinion on the basis of the material it has in its possession already or it may gather such material. All that is required is that there must be some material on the basis of which the opinion is formed. The Court should show due deference to the opinion of the State which does not, however, mean that the opinion formed is beyond judicial scrutiny altogether.

It is abundantly clear that Article 16(4) and 16(4-A) are enabling provisions and the collection of quantifiable data showing inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in public service is a sine qua non for providing reservations in promotions. The data to be collected by the State Government is only to justify reservation to be made in the matter of appointment or promotion to public posts, according to Article 16(4) and 16(4-A) of the Constitution. As such, collection of data regarding the inadequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes, as noted above, is a pre-requisite for providing reservations, and is not required when the State Government decides not to provide reservations. Not being bound to provide reservations in promotions, the State is not required to justify its decision on the basis of quantifiable data, showing that there is adequate representation of members of the Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes in State services. Even if the under-representation of Scheduled Castes and Schedules Tribes in public services is brought to the notice of this Court, no Mandamus can be issued by this Court to the State Government to provide reservation.”

Hon’ble Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Mukesh Kumar v. The State of Uttarakhand, [Civil Appeal No. 1226 of 2020]. promotion round red grunge stamp