Reservation in Promotions #4: Bench Pushes Hearings To After Summer Vacation

Reservation in Promotion

On May 11th 2022, Justices L.N. Rao, Sanjiv Khanna, and B.R. Gavai pushed hearings in the challenges to reservations in promotions to after the Supreme Court’s summer vacation. Rao J has been keen to dispose of the complex matter in previous hearings. Now that the matter has been pushed to after the vacation—during which he retires—it will be heard by a different Bench. 

This case encompasses long-pending litigation surrounding the use of data to ‘justify’ reservation policies for certain communities. In M. Nagaraj v. Union of India (2006), the Supreme Court affirmed Parliament’s decision of extending reservations in promotions to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates. However, at the same time, it laid down stringent rules for the Union and States—making it difficult for them to grant these reservations at all.  

In the previous hearing, the Bench heard the Bihar government’s challenge to the Patna High Court’s ruling declaring the former’s reservation in promotions policy for SC and ST candidates unconstitutional. The Bihar government withdrew its challenge—admitting that the policy did not comply with the conditions laid down in Nagaraj. Senior Advocate Indira Jaisingh strenuously opposed the withdrawal, arguing that the policy was in line with the data collection requirements laid out by the Judgment, and that withdrawing it would harm SC and ST candidates. The Bench requested Ms. Jaisingh to file a note on the nature of these harms.