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Constitutional Amendment Bill for Reservation in Promotion to SCs and STs

New Delhi: December 19,2012

The Rajya Sabha on Monday (December 17, 2012) passed the Constitution (One Hundred Seventeenth Amendment) Bill, 2012. The Bill proposes to amend the Article 16 (4A) of the Constitution of India. The existing Article 16(4A) provides for reservation in promotion to the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) which are not adequately represented in the Govt. services. The proposed amendment would amend Article 16(4A) in such a manner that it would obviate the need of collection of quantifiable data about adequacy of representation and backwardness of the class for reservation in promotion to the SCs and the STs.

The Government had introduced a Constitutional Amendment Bill in the Rajya Sabha during the last session so that the SCs and STs may continue to get reservation in promotion as in vogue now.

As a part of the affirmative action, reservation in promotion had been available to the SCs and STs since 1955. However, some of the decisions of the Supreme Court cases such as in Indra Sawhney, Veer Pal Singh Chauhan and S.Vinod Kumar cases had caused certain effects on the scheme of reservation in promotion for SCs and STs. To overcome these effects, four Constitutional amendments, namely, 77th,81st, 82nd and 85th amendments were effected.

The validity of the said amendments was challenged before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court while deliberating on the issue of validity of Constitutional amendments in case of M. Nagaraj Vs. UoI & Ors (vide judgement dated 19/10/2006 ) observed that the concerned State 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.

Relying on the judgement of the Supreme Court in M. Nagaraj Case, the scheme of reservation in promotion in the services of the States of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh were quashed by the respective High Courts and these decisions were subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court also.

The Bill will now be taken up for consideration and passing in the Lok Sabha.


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