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A five-Judge bench of the Supreme Court initiated hearing on the matter of reconsideration of the Judgment, which was given by the Court in 2006 in the case of M. Nagaraj challenging the interpretation of Articles 16 (4), 16 (4A) and 16 (4B) of the Indian Constitution. The Attorney General of India further stated, "This is a provision for affirmative action. For thousands of years, these classes are subjugated. They could not walk on the streets with the upper castes. The state has to protect them. As per me, they should be given the same number of posts in promotion as they are entitled to in matters of appointment, depending on the population of the states.”
As per the Judgment of 2006 in the matter of M. Nagaraj, it was held by the Supreme Court that it is not mandatory for the state to make reservations for the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes in the matter of promotions. Adding, compliance with Article 335 of the Indian Constitution, if the State wishes to exercise its power of discretion, a data is to be collected that shows the backwardness of the class and its inadequacy of representation in Public employment. Further, the applicability of the interpretation is that the State has to gather quantifiable data which shows the backwardness of the class was doubted, and in 2017 it was again referred to the Constitution Bench for reconsideration of the issue.
The Five Judge bench included The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, Justice Kurian Joseph, Justice R F Nariman, Justice S K Kaul, and Justice Indu Malhotra. According to the statements given by the Attorney General K. K. Venugopal, notification under Articles 341 and 342 clearly satisfies the criteria required to prove the backwardness of SC and ST. He also added to his statement the 15% apportionment that was made by the state of Andhra Pradesh for reservation of Scheduled Castes in the educational institutions and services of state depending upon the extent of backwardness.
Reference was taken from the case of Indira Sawhney (1992), in which it was said that the period of 5 years shall continue as it's already in existence in the matters of promotions. Justice Rohinton Nariman was of the opinion that quantifiable data speaks of the phrase "in the opinion of the state, are not adequately represented in the services under the State as mentioned in Article 16(4A) of the Indian Constitution." He also referred to the case of State of Kerala vs N.M. Thomas, which was decided by the Seven Judge bench of the Supreme court in 1976. According to the decision, the classification of employees who belongs to the SC and ST allows them an extended period of 2 years for passing the test of promotion is considered reasonable.
The next date fixed for the hearing of the matter is next week. Various cases are being referred and opinions and statements are being argued. Justice Nariman stated, “by applying backwardness, you cannot be allowed to go back; but you have to look at inadequate representation as mentioned under Article 16(4A).
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