The Supreme Court on Monday ordered status quo on the Delhi High Court's order which had asked the Centre to comply within three months with the apex court's judgement on grant of reservation for promotions in government jobs to SCs and STs employees.
The high court, in its November 12 last year order, had said that authorities were bound to comply with the verdict rendered by a five-judge Constitution bench of the apex court in the matter, which had paved the way for grant of quota for promotions in the government jobs to SCs and STs.
The high court, while noting that the Constitution bench judgement was delivered on September 26 last year, had directed the Centre to comply with it within three months.
The apex court's last year verdict, which had paved the way for grant of quota for promotions in government jobs to SCs and STs, had held that states were not required to "collect quantifiable data" reflecting the backwardness among these communities.
The Centre's challenge to the high court's order on Monday came up for hearing before a bench of Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer which said that the issue was needed to be heard at length.
"We consider it appropriate to grant status quo (on high court direction) as on today," the bench said after Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the high court ought not have passed such order.
Mr Venugopal said various issues arising out of reservation in promotions in government jobs to SC/ST employees will be adjudicated by the apex court but the "problem" for the Centre was the high court's direction.
The bench said it would also hear the batch of petitions, which are already pending before it, related to the issue after summer vacations.
"We will hear these matters fully," the bench observed.
During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Maharashtra said that thousands of post were lying vacant and the number was 89,000 in the state.
"There should be some way out to grant promotions," the counsel said.
The bench, however, said it would hear these matters in detail.
On September 26 last year, a five-judge constitution bench had declined the demand to refer the matter to a seven-judge bench to reconsider the apex court's 2006 judgement that had put certain conditions for granting quota benefits in job promotions for SC/ST employees.
It had clarified that there was no need to revisit its 2006 verdict in M Nagaraj case which had said that the states were bound to provide quantifiable data on the backwardness of SC/ST, the facts about their inadequate representation in government jobs and the overall administrative efficiency, before providing them quota in promotions.
The constitution bench had said that conclusion arrived at in M Nagaraj case that states have to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of SCs and STs was "contrary" to the nine-judge bench judgement in the Indra Sawhney verdict of 1992, popularly known as Mandal Commission case.
The constitution bench, which said that "efficiency of administration" has to be looked at every time promotions are made, had said there was no need to revisit the part of verdict in Nagaraj case which applied the "creamy layer test" to SCs and STs.