Reality Check India

Copy : UP Power Corp vs Rajesh Kumar Quota in Promotions – D.Bhandari

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL No. 2608 OF 2011

U.P. Power Corporation Ltd.             … Appellant

Versus

Rajesh Kumar & Ors.                          … Respondents

WITH

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4009____ OF 2012
(arising out of SLP (C) No. 10217/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. _4022___ OF 2012
(arising out of SLP (C) No. 15114/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. ___4027-4029_ OF 2012
(arising out of SLP (C) Nos. 20577-20579/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 2605 OF 2011, 2607/2011, 2609/2011, 2610/2011, 2614/2011,
2616/2011, 2629/2011, 2675/2011, 2676/2011, 2677/2011, 2678/2011,
2679/2011, 2729/2011, 2730/2011, 2737/2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4023 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No. 14188 OF 2012 (CC 4420/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4024 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No.14189/2012 (CC 4421/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4025 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No.14190/2012 (CC 4431/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4691 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4697 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4699 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO.4026 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No. 14191 OF 2012 (CC 5070/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4016 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C) No.14179/2012 (CC 5580/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO.4021 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No.14184/2012 (CC 6362/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4017 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No. 14181/2012 (CC 6482/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4018 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No. 14182/2012 (CC 7037/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO.4019 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No. 14183/2012 (CC 7042/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4020OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No.14184/2012 (CC 7058/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO.4030 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C) No. 30325/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4031 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No. 30326/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO.4032 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No. 30327/2011)
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO.4033 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No. 30692/2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO.4034 OF 2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No. 30696/2011)

AND

CIVIL APPEAL No. 2622 OF 2011

State of U.P.                                            … Appellant

Versus

Brij Bhushan Sharma & Anr.                   … Respondents

WITH

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2611 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2612/2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2613 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2623 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2624 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2682-2683 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2684 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2881 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2884-2885 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2886 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2908 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2909 OF 2011
WITH
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 2944-2945 OF 2011
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 66 OF 2012

WITH

CIVIL APPEAL NO.4067/2012
(arising out of SLP(C ) No.14207/2012 (CC 17243/2011)

J U D G M E N T

Dipak  Misra, J.

Leave granted in Special Leave Petitions.

2.    The  controversy  pertaining  to  reservation  in  promotion  for  the
Scheduled Castes  and  Scheduled  Tribes  with  consequential  seniority  as
engrafted under Articles 16(4A) and  16(4B)  and  the  facet  of  relaxation
grafted by way of a proviso to Article 335  of  the  Constitution  of  India
being incorporated by  the  Constitution  (Seventy-seventh  Amendment)  Act,
1995, the Constitution (Eight-first Amendment) Act, 2000,  the  Constitution
(Eighty-second Amendment)  Act,  2000  and  the  Constitution  (Eighty-fifth
Amendment) Act, 2001 at various stages having  withstood  judicial  scrutiny
by  the  dictum  in  M.  Nagaraj  v.  Union  of  India[1],  the   issue   of
implementation of the same  through  existing  statutory  enactment  by  the
State Legislature and the subsequent rules framed by the authorities of  the
State or concerned corporation of the State of Uttar Pradesh,  has,  as  the
learned counsel appearing for both sides in  their  astute  and  penetrating
manner have pyramided the concept in its essentiality, either  appeared  too
simple that simplification may envy or so complex that it could manifest  as
the reservoir of imbalances or a sanctuary of uncertainties.  Thus, the  net
result commands for an endeavour for a  detailed  survey  of  the  past  and
casts an obligation to dwell  upon  the  controversy  within  the  requisite
parameters that  are  absolutely  essential  for  adjudication  of  the  lis
emanated in praesenti.

THE FACTUAL EXPOSE’

3.    Extraordinary and, in a way, perplexing though it  may  seem,  yet  as
the factual scenario  pronouncedly  reveals,  the  assail  in  some  of  the
appeals of this batch of appeals is to the judgment and order passed by  the
Division Bench of  the  High  Court  of  Judicature  at  Allahabad  in  Writ
Petition No. 63217 of 2010 (Mukund Kumar Srivastava vs. State  of  U.P.  and
Another) upholding the validity of the provisions contained in Rule  8-A  of
the U.P. Government Servants Seniority Rules, 1991 (for  brevity  ‘the  1991
Rules’) that were inserted by the U.P. Government  Servants  Seniority  (3rd
Amendment) Rules, 2007 by  the  employees-appellants  and  in  some  of  the
appeals,  the  challenge  by  the  State  Government  and  the  U.P.   Power
Corporation Ltd. (for short ‘the Corporation’) is to the judgment and  order
passed by the Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature  at  Allahabad,
Lucknow Bench, Lucknow, in Writ Petition No. 1389 (S/B) of 2007 (Prem  Kumar
Singh and others v. State of U.P.  and  others)  and  other  connected  writ
petitions holding, inter alia, that the decision rendered  by  the  Division
Bench in the case of Mukund Kumar Srivastava (supra)  at  Allahabad  is  per
incuriam and not a binding precedent and further Section 3(7) of  the  Uttar
Pradesh Public Servants (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled  Tribes
and other Backward Classes) Act, 1994 (for short ‘the 1994  Act’)  and  Rule
8A of the 1991 Rules, as brought into force  in  2007,  are  invalid,  ultra
vires and unconstitutional and, as a necessary corollary, the  consequential
orders relating to seniority passed by the State Government deserved  to  be
quashed and, accordingly, quashed the same and  further  clarified  that  in
case the State Government decides to provide  reservation  in  promotion  to
any class or classes of posts in the services under the State,  it  is  free
to  do  so  after  undertaking  the   exercise   as   required   under   the
constitutional provisions keeping in mind the law laid down  by  this  Court
in M. Nagraj (supra).  It has  been  directed  that  till  it  is  done,  no
reservation in promotion on any post or classes of posts under the  services
of the State including the Corporation shall be made hence forth.   However,
the Division Bench observed that the promotions  already  made  as  per  the
provisions/Rules where the benefit of Rule  8A  has  not  been  given  while
making the promotion shall not be disturbed.

4.    The cleavage has invited  immense  criticism  by  the  learned  senior
counsel appearing for both  sides  on  principles  of  judicial  discipline,
decorum, propriety and tradition.  Initially the debate centred  around  the
concept of precedent and the duties of the  Benches  but  gradually  it  was
acceded to, absolutely totally being seemly, to decide  the  controversy  on
merits instead of a remit and, accordingly,  the  learned  counsel  for  the
parties addressed the Court at length.  As advised, we shall dwell upon  the
merits of the controversy but we shall not abdicate  our  responsibility  to
delve into the first issue, i.e., judicial discipline as we are inclined  to
think that it is the duty, nay, obligation in the  present  case  to  do  so
because despite repeated concern shown by this Court, the  malady  subsists,
making an abode of almost permanency.  Ergo, we proceed to state  the  facts
on the first issue and our opinion thereon and, thereafter, shall deal  with
the assail and attack on both the judgments on merits.

5.    One Rajesh Kumar and  two  others,  the  private  respondents  in  the
appeal preferred by the Corporation, filed Writ Petition No.  146  (S/B)  of
2009 at the Lucknow Bench of the  High  Court  of  Judicature  at  Allahabad
seeking declaration to the effect that Rule 8A of the  1991  Rules  and  the
resolution passed by the  Corporation  are  ultra  vires.  That  apart,  the
assail was to the constitutional validity of Section 3(7) of  the  1994  Act
on the foundation that the  State  Government  in  gross  violation  of  the
constitutional provisions enshrined under Articles  16(4A)  and  16(4B)  and
the interpretation placed thereon by the Constitution  Bench  in  M.  Nagraj
(supra) has framed the Rules and the Corporation has  adopted  the  same  by
amending its Rules and introduced the concept of  reservation  in  promotion
with accelerated seniority.

6.    It was contended before the  Lucknow  Bench  that  neither  the  State
Government nor the Corporation had carried  out  the  exercise  as  per  the
decision in  M.  Nagraj  (supra)  and  in  the  absence  of  the  same,  the
provisions of the Act and the Rules caused discomfort to the  constitutional
provisions.  The stand and stance put forth  by  the  writ  petitioners  was
combated by the Corporation  contending,  inter  alia,  that  the  Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes were inadequately  represented  in  the  service
and the chart wise percentage of representation  to  direct  recruitment  of
reserved categories incumbents would clearly  reflect  the  inadequacy.   We
are not referring to the pleadings in detail as that will be adverted to  at
a later stage.  Suffice to say at present, in view of  the  assertions  made
by the parties and the  records  produced  the  Division  Bench  framed  the
question for determination whether Rule 8-A of the Rules is ultra vires  and
unconstitutional.  During the course of hearing of the  writ  petition,  the
Corporation brought to the notice of  the  Division  Bench  at  Lucknow  the
judgment dated 21.10.2010 passed by the Division Bench at Allahabad in  Writ
Petition No. 63127 of 2010 (Mukund Kumar Srivastava v.  State  of  U.P.  and
another).  It  was  urged  that  the  same  was  a  binding  precedent  and,
therefore, the Division Bench was bound to follow the same.  But, the  Bench
hearing the writ petition declared the said decision as not binding and  per
incuriam as it had not correctly interpreted, appreciated  and  applied  the
ratio laid down in M. Nagraj (supra) and, on  that  base,  declared  Section
3(7) of the 1994 Act and Rule 8A of the 1991 Rules as  unconstitutional  and
issued the directions as have been stated hereinbefore.

7.    It is the admitted position at the Bar  that  certain  writ  petitions
were filed at Lucknow Bench and they were being heard.  They were  filed  on
earlier point of time and were being dealt with on merits by  the  concerned
Division  Bench.   At  that  juncture,  the  Division  Bench  at   Allahabad
entertained Writ Petition No. 63127 of 2010.  The  Bench  was  of  the  view
that without calling for a counter affidavit from  any  of  the  respondents
the writ petition could be decided.  Be it  noted,  the  petitioner  therein
was an  Executive  Engineer  in  Rural  Engineering  Service  at  Sonebhadra
Division and had challenged the seniority list  of  Executive  Engineers  of
Rural Engineering Service published vide Office  Memorandum  No.  2950/62-3-
2010-45-RES/2010 dated 8.9.2010 and further sought declaration  of  Rule  8A
of the 2007 Rules as unconstitutional.  A prayer for  issue  of  a  writ  of
mandamus was sought not to proceed with and promote any person on  the  next
higher post on the  basis  of  the  impugned  seniority  list  of  Executive
Engineers of Rural Engineering Service.  The Bench, as is manifest from  the
order, adverted to the facts and then  dwelled  upon  the  validity  of  the
Rules.  It scanned Rules 6, 7, 8 and 8A and  referred  to  the  decision  of
this Court in Indra Sawhney etc. v. Union of India and others[2], Section  3
of the 1994 Act, Article 335 of the Constitution and quoted in extenso  from
M. Nagraj (supra) and came to hold as follows: –

“The Constitutional validity of Amending Act 77th Amendment  Act
1995 and 85th Amendment Act 2001 whereby clause  (4A)  has  been
inserted  after  clause  (4)  under  the  Article  16   of   the
Constitution has already been upheld by the  Constitution  Bench
of Hon’ble Apex Court in M. Nagraj  case  (supra)  holding  that
neither the catch up rule nor the  Constitutional  seniority  is
implicit in Clause (1) and Clause (4) of Article 16  rather  the
concept  of  catch  up  rule  and  consequential  seniority  are
judicially  evolved  concepts   to   control   the   extent   of
reservation.   The  source  of  these  concepts  is  in  service
jurisprudence.  These concepts cannot be elevated to the  status
of  an  axiom,  like  secularism,  constitutional   sovereignty,
equality code etc. forming basic structure of the  Constitution.
It cannot be said that by insertion of concept of  consequential
seniority the  structure  of  Article  16  stands  destroyed  or
abrogated. It cannot be said that equality code contained  under
Articles 14, 15, 16 is violated by deletion of catch-up rule.

We are bound by the aforesaid  decision  of  Hon’ble  Apex
Court in M. Nagraj case (supra).  Therefore,  there  can  be  no
scope for doubt to hold  that  deletion  of  catch-up  rule  and
conferring the benefits  of  consequential  seniority  upon  the
members of SC and ST on account of reservation in promotion in a
particular service or grade or post has any way obliterated  the
equality code contained under Articles 14,  15  and  16  of  the
Constitution as concept of catch-up rule of seniority  does  not
directly flow from Article 16(1) and (4) of the Constitution  of
India.  We are of the considered opinion that Rule  8A  of  1991
Rules has merely  effectuated  the  provisions  contained  under
Article 16(4A) of the Constitution of India whereby  benefit  of
consequential  seniority  has  been  given  to  the  members  of
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes due to  reservation/roster
in promotion by obliterating the concept  of  catch-up  Rule  of
seniority.  Rule 8A of 1991 Rules specifically  stipulates  that
if any  member  of  scheduled  castes  or  scheduled  tribes  is
promoted on any post  or  grade  in  service  earlier  to  other
categories of persons, the member of SC/ST shall be  treated  to
be senior to such other categories of persons who  are  promoted
subsequently  after  promotion  of  members  of  SC/ST,  despite
anything contained in Rules 6, 7 and 8 of 1991  Rules.   In  our
view Rule 8A  of  1991  Rules  has  constitutional  sanctity  of
Article 16(4A) of the Constitution and cannot  be  found  faulty
merely on account of violation of judicially evolved concept  of
catch-up  rule  of  seniority  which   has   been   specifically
obliterated by Article 16(4A) of the Constitution.  Likewise the
said rule can also not be held to be unconstitutional or invalid
on account of  obliteration  of  any  other  judicially  evolved
principle of seniority or any other contrary rules of  seniority
existing under Rules 6, 7 and 8 of 1991 Rules,  as  Rule  8A  of
1991 Rules opens with non-obstante clause with overriding effect
upon Rules 6, 7 and 8 of 1991 Rules, therefore, we do  not  find
any justification to strike down the provisions contained  under
Rule 8-A of 1991 Rules on the said ground  and  on  any  of  the
grounds mentioned in the writ petition.”

After so stating, the Division Bench proceeded to observe as follows: –

“27.  In this connection, we make it clear that deletion of  the
said concept of catch-up  Rule  of  seniority  and  addition  of
consequential seniority due to reservation in promotion  on  any
post or grade  in  service  are  applicable  to  the  member  of
scheduled castes and scheduled  tribes  only,  whereas  inter-se
seniority of other categories employees  shall  continue  to  be
determined  according  to  their  existing  seniority  rules  as
contemplated by the provisions of Rules  6,  7  and  8  of  1991
Rules, subject to aforesaid limitations.  Thus  the  concept  of
catch-up Rule of Seniority stands obliterated only to the extent
of giving benefit of consequential seniority to the  members  of
scheduled castes  and  scheduled  tribes  on  account  of  their
promotion on any post or grade in service  due  to  reservation,
therefore, the scope of obliteration of concept of catch-up rule
is limited to that extent.  In  this  view  of  the  matter  the
petitioner is not entitled to get the relief sought for  in  the
writ petition questioning the validity of said Rule 8A  of  1991
Rules.  Thus we uphold  the  validity  of  said  Rules  and  the
question formulated by us is answered accordingly.”

It is interesting to note that in paragraph 29 of  the  said  judgment
the Division Bench expressed thus: –

“29.  However,  since  the  petitioner  did  not  challenge  the
Constitutional  Validity  of  Law   regarding   reservation   in
promotion in favour of scheduled  castes  and  scheduled  tribes
existing in State of Uttar Pradesh which is  applicable  to  the
services and posts in connection of affairs of  State  of  Uttar
Pradesh inasmuch as other services and  posts  covered  by  said
Reservation Act 1994, in our opinion, the petitioner  shall  not
be permitted to raise this question by  filing  any  other  writ
petition again.  In given facts and circumstances of  the  case,
we are not  inclined  to  issue  any  mandamus,  commanding  the
respondents, not to proceed with impugned seniority list for the
purpose of promotion on the next higher post without  expressing
any opinion on the merit of said seniority list.   We  are  also
not inclined to issue any  such  restraint  order,  staying  any
promotion on the  next  higher  post,  if  the  respondents  are
intending to make  such  promotion  on  the  basis  of  impugned
seniority list.”

8.    We have been apprised at the Bar that it was brought to the notice  of
the Division Bench at Allahabad that certain  writ  petitions,  where  there
was  comprehensive  challenge,  were  part-heard  and  the  hearing  was  in
continuance at Lucknow Bench, but, as is vivid from the first  paragraph  of
the said judgment, the Bench heard the learned counsel  for  the  petitioner
and the standing counsel for the State and caveator and proceeded to  decide
the matter without a counter affidavit.

9.    Presently, we shall advert to how the Lucknow Bench  dealt  with  this
decision.

10.    After  stating  the  basic  pleas,  the  Division  Bench  at  Lucknow
proceeded to state as follows:-

“…….but before we proceed to decide  the  validity  of  the
challenge made and the defence put, we  find  it  expedient  to
respond to the  foremost  plea  of  the  respondents  that  the
aforesaid Rule 8-A of the U.P.  Government  Servants  Seniority
Rules, 1991, (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Rules, 1991), was
challenged before a Division Bench (Hon’ble  Sheo  Kumar  Singh
and Hon’ble Sabhajeet Yadav, JJ) at Allahabad in Writ  Petition
No. 63127 of 2010 in re: Mukund Kumar Srivastava  versus  State
of U.P. and another, which writ  petition  has  been  dismissed
upholding the validity of the aforesaid  Rule  8-A,  therefore,
this Court is bound by the said judgment passed by a  Bench  of
equal strength and hence all these petitions need be  dismissed
only on this ground.”

Before the said Bench, it was contended that the judgment rendered  by
the Division Bench at Allahabad  is  per  incuriam  and  is  not  a  binding
precedent.

11.   Various grounds were urged to substantiate the aforesaid  stand.   The
Division Bench, after analysing the reasoning  of  the  Allahabad  Bench  in
great detail and after referring to certain  decisions  and  the  principles
pertaining to binding precedent, opined as follows:-

“The Division  Bench  at  Allahabad,  did  not  enter  into  the
question of exercise of power by the State Government under  the
enabling provisions of the Constitution and upheld the  validity
of Rule 8-A only for the reason, that there  did  exist  such  a
power to enact the Rule, whereas the Apex  Court,  very  clearly
has  pronounced,  that  if  the  given  exercise  has  not  been
undertaken by the State  Government  while  making  a  rule  for
reservation with or without accelerated seniority, such  a  rule
may not stand the test of judicial review.

In fact, M. Nagraj obliges the  High  Court  that  when  a
challenge is made to the  reservation  in  promotion,  it  shall
scrutinize the same on the given parameters and it also casts  a
corresponding duty upon the  State  Government  to  satisfy  the
Court about the exercise undertaken in making such  a  provision
for reservation.  The Division Bench did not  advert  upon  this
issue, nor the State Government fulfilled its duty as enumerated
in M. Nagraj.

The effect of the judgment delivered at Allahabad is  also
to be seen in the light of the fact  that  though  the  Division
Bench at Allahabad did not adjudicate on the dispute with regard
to  the  seniority  for  which  the  petitioner   Mukund   Kumar
Srivastava has been relegated to  the  remedy  of  State  Public
Services Tribunal, but upheld the validity of  Rule  8-A,  which
could not be  said  to  be  the  main  relief,  claimed  by  the
petitioner.

For the aforesaid reasons and also for  the  reason,  that
the present  writ  petitions  do  challenge  the  very  rule  of
reservation in promotion, which challenge we have upheld for the
reasons  hereinafter  stated,  because  of  which  the  rule  of
accelerated seniority itself falls to the ground, we, with  deep
respect, are unable to  subscribe  to  the  view  taken  by  the
Division Bench at Allahabad and  hold  that  the  said  judgment
cannot be considered as binding precedent having  been  rendered
per incuriam.”

12.   We have reproduced the paragraphs from both the decisions  in  extenso
to highlight that the Allahabad Bench  was  apprised  about  the  number  of
matters at Lucknow filed earlier in point of  time  which  were  being  part
heard and the hearing was in continuum.  It would  have  been  advisable  to
wait for the verdict at Lucknow Bench or to bring it to the  notice  of  the
learned Chief Justice about the similar matters  being  instituted  at  both
the places.  The judicial courtesy and  decorum  warranted  such  discipline
which was  expected  from  the  learned  Judges  but  for  the  unfathomable
reasons, neither of the courses were  taken  recourse  to.   Similarly,  the
Division Bench at Lucknow  erroneously  treated  the  verdict  of  Allahabad
Bench not to be a binding precedent on the foundation  that  the  principles
laid down by the Constitution Bench in  M.  Nagraj  (supra)  are  not  being
appositely appreciated and correctly applied by the  Bench  when  there  was
reference to the said decision  and  number  of  passages  were  quoted  and
appreciated albeit incorrectly, the same could not have  been  a  ground  to
treat the decision as per incuriam or not  a  binding  precedent.   Judicial
discipline commands in such a situation when there is disagreement to  refer
the matter to a larger Bench.  Instead of doing that, the Division Bench  at
Lucknow took the burden on themselves to decide the case.

13.   In this context, we may profitably quote  a  passage  from  Lala  Shri
Bhagwan and another v. Ram Chand and another[3]:-

“18. .. It is hardly necessary to emphasise that  considerations
of judicial propriety and decorum  require  that  if  a  learned
single Judge hearing a matter is inclined to take the view  that
the earlier decisions of the High Court, whether of  a  Division
Bench or of a single Judge, need to be reconsidered,  he  should
not embark upon that enquiry sitting  as  a  single  Judge,  but
should refer the matter to a Division  Bench  or,  in  a  proper
case, place the relevant papers  before  the  Chief  Justice  to
enable him to constitute a larger Bench to examine the question.
That is the proper  and  traditional  way  to  deal  with  such
matters and it is founded  on  healthy  principles  of  judicial
decorum and propriety.  It is to be regretted that  the  learned
single Judge departed from this traditional way in  the  present
case and chose to examine the question himself.”

14.   In Sundarjas Kanyalal Bhathija and others  v.  The  Collector,  Thane,
Maharashtra and others[4] while dealing with judicial discipline,  the  two-
Judge Bench has expressed thus:-

“One must remember that pursuit of the law,  however,  glamorous
it is, has its own limitation on the Bench.   In  a  multi-Judge
Court, the Judges are bound by precedents and  procedure.   They
could use their  discretion  only  when  there  is  no  declared
principle to be found, no rule and no authority.   The  judicial
decorum and legal propriety demand that where a  learned  single
Judge or a Division Bench does not agree with the decision of  a
Bench of co-ordinate jurisdiction, the matter shall be  referred
to a larger Bench.  It is a subversion of judicial  process  not
to follow this procedure.”

The aforesaid pronouncements clearly lay down what  is  expected  from
the Judges when they are confronted  with  the  decision  of  a  Co-ordinate
Bench on the same issue.  Any contrary  attitude,  however  adventurous  and
glorious may be, would  lead  to  uncertainty  and  inconsistency.   It  has
precisely so happened in the case at hand.  There are two decisions  by  two
Division Benches from the same High Court.  We  express  our  concern  about
the deviation from the judicial decorum and discipline by both  the  Benches
and  expect  that  in  future,  they  shall  be  appositely  guided  by  the
conceptual eventuality of such discipline as laid down by  this  Court  from
time to time.  We have said so with the fond hope that  judicial  enthusiasm
should not obliterate the profound responsibility that is expected from  the
Judges.

15.   Having dealt with the judicial  dictum  and  the  propriety  part,  we
shall now proceed to deal with the case on merit as a common  consensus  was
arrived at the Bar for the said purpose.  The affected employees have  filed
certain civil appeals against the judgment of the Allahabad High  Court  and
the employees who are affected by the verdict  of  the  Lucknow  Bench  have
also preferred appeals.  That apart, the State of U.P. and  the  Corporation
have also challenged the decision as the rules  framed  have  been  declared
ultra vires.  The main controversy relates to the validity of  Section  3(7)
of the 1994 Act and Rule 8A of the 1991 Rules.   Thus,  we  really  have  to
advert to the constitutional validity of the said provisions.

16.   Prior to the advertence in aforesaid regard, it is necessary  to  have
a certain survey pertaining to  reservation  in  promotional  matters.   The
question of reservation and the associated promotion  with  it  has  been  a
matter of debate in various decisions of this  Court.   After  independence,
there were various areas in respect  of  which  decisions  were  pronounced.
Eventually, in the case of Indra Sawhney and another v. Union of  India  and
others (supra)  the  nine-Judge  Bench,  while  dealing  with  the  question
whether  clause  (4)  of  Article  16  of  the  Constitution  provides   for
reservation only in the matter of initial  appointment,  direct  recruitment
or does it contemplate and  provide  for  reservations  being  made  in  the
matter of promotion as well, recorded the submissions of the petitioners  in
paragraph 819 which reads as follows: –

“The petitioners’ submission is that  the  reservation  of
appointments or posts contemplated by clause (4) is only at  the
stage of entry into State service, i.e., direct recruitment.  It
is submitted that providing for reservation  thereafter  in  the
matter of promotion amounts to a double reservation and if  such
a provision is made at each successive  stage  of  promotion  it
would be a case of reservation being provided that  many  times.
It is also submitted that by providing reservation in the matter
of promotion, the member of a reserved category  is  enabled  to
leap-frog over his compatriots, which is bound to generate acute
heartburning   and   may   well   lead   to   inefficiency    in
administration.  The members of the  open  competition  category
would  come  to  think  that  whatever  be  their   record   and
performance, the members of reserved categories  would  steal  a
march  over  them,  irrespective  of   their   performance   and
competence.  Examples are give how two persons (A) and (B),  one
belonging to O.C. category and the other belonging  to  reserved
category, having been appointed at the same time, the member  of
the reserved category gets promoted earlier and how even in  the
promoted category he jumps over the members of the O.C. category
already there and gains a further promotion  and  so  on.   This
would generate, it is  submitted,  a  feeling  of  disheartening
which kills the spirit of competition and develops  a  sense  of
disinterestedness among the members of  O.C.  category.   It  is
pointed out that once persons coming from different sources join
a category or class, they must be treated  alike  thereafter  in
all matters including promotions  and  that  no  distinction  is
permissible on the basis of  their  “birth-mark”.   It  is  also
pointed out that even the Constituent Assembly debates on  draft
Article 10(3)  do  not  indicate  in  any  manner  that  it  was
supported to extend  to  promotions  as  well.   It  is  further
submitted that if  Article  16(4)  is  construed  as  warranting
reservation even in the matter of promotion it would be contrary
to the mandate of Article 335 viz., maintenance of efficiency in
administration.  It is submitted that  such  a  provision  would
amount to putting a premium upon inefficiency.  The  members  of
the reserved category would not work hard since they do not have
to compete  with  all  their  colleagues  but  only  within  the
reserved category  and  further  because  they  are  assured  of
promotion whether they work hard and efficiently or not.  Such a
course would  also  militate  against  the  goal  of  excellence
referred to in clause (j) of Article 51-A (Fundamental Duties).”

Thereafter, the Bench referred to the decisions  in  General  Manager,
S. Rly. v. Rangachari[5], State of Punjab v. Hira  Lal[6],  Akhil  Bharatiya
Soshit Karamchari Sangh v. Union of India[7]  and  Comptroller  and  Auditor
General v. K.S. Jagannathan[8] and did not agree with  the  view  stated  in
Rangachari (supra), despite noting the fact that Rangachari has been  a  law
for more than thirty  years  and  that  attempt  to  reopen  the  issue  was
repelled in Akhil Bharatiya Soshit Karamchari  Sangh  (supra).   Thereafter,
their Lordships addressed to  the  concept  of  promotion  and,  eventuall,y
after adverting to certain legal principles, stated thus: –

“831.  We  must  also  make  it  clear  that  it  would  not  be
impermissible  for  the  State   to   extend   concessions   and
relaxations to members of reserved categories in the  matter  of
promotion   without   compromising   the   efficiency   of   the
administration.  The relaxation concerned in State of Kerala  v.
N.M. Thomas [(1976)  2  SCC  310]  and  the  concessions  namely
carrying forward of  vacancies  and  provisions  for  in-service
coaching/training in Karamchari  Sangh  are  instances  of  such
concessions  and  relaxations.   However,  it   would   not   be
permissible to prescribe lower  qualifying  marks  or  a  lesser
level of evaluation for the members of reserved categories since
that would compromise  the  efficiency  of  administration.   We
reiterate that while  it  may  be  permissible  to  prescribe  a
reasonably lesser qualifying marks or evaluation for  the  OBCs,
SCs and STs – consistent with the efficiency  of  administration
and the nature of duties attaching to the office concerned –  in
the matter of direct recruitment, such a  course  would  not  be
permissible in the matter of promotions for the reasons recorded
hereinabove.”

In paragraph 859, while summarising  the  said  aspect,  it  has  been
ruled thus: –

“859. We may summarise our  answers  to  the  various  questions
dealt with and answered hereinabove:

……….       …………..        ………..

(7)   Article 16(4) does not permit provision  for  reservations
in the matter of promotion.  This rule shall, however, have
only  prospective  operation  and  shall  not  affect   the
promotions already made, whether made on regular  basis  or
on any other basis.  We direct that our  decision  on  this
question shall operate only  prospectively  and  shall  not
affect  promotions  already  made,  whether  on  temporary,
officiating or  regular/permanent  basis.   It  is  further
directed that wherever reservations are already provided in
the matter of promotion – be it Central Services  or  State
Services,  or  for   that   matter   services   under   any
Corporation, authority or body falling under the definition
of ‘State’ in Article 12 – such reservations  may  continue
in operation for a period of  five  years  from  this  day.
Within this period, it would be  open  to  the  appropriate
authorities to revise,  modify  or  re-issue  the  relevant
rules to ensure the achievement of the objective of Article
16(4).  If any authority thinks that for ensuring  adequate
representation of  ‘backward  class  of  citizens’  in  any
service, class or category, it is necessary to provide  for
direct recruitment therein, it shall be open to it to do so
(Ahmadi, J expresses no opinion on this question  upholding
the preliminary objection of Union of India).  It would not
be impermissible for the State to  extend  concessions  and
relaxations to members of reserved categories in the matter
of promotion without compromising  the  efficiency  of  the
administration.”

17.   After the said decision, another decision, namely, Union of India  and
others v. Virpal Singh Chauhan and others[9] came  to  the  field.   In  the
said case, the two-Judge Bench was concerned with the  nature  of  rule  and
reservation in promotions obtaining in the  railway  service  and  the  rule
concerning the determination of seniority  between  general  candidates  and
candidates belonging to reserved classes in the promotional  category.   The
Bench referred to the decision in R.K. Sabharwal  v.  State  of  Punjab[10],
various  paragraphs  of  the  Indian  Railways  Establishment   Manual   and
paragraphs 692 and 693 of the Indra Sawhney  (supra)  and  opined  that  the
roster would only ensure the prescribed percentage of reservation but  would
not affect the seniority.  It  has  been  stated  that  while  the  reserved
candidates  are  entitled  to  accelerated  promotion,  they  would  not  be
entitled to consequential seniority.

18.   Thereafter, in Ajit Singh Januja and others v.  State  of  Punjab  and
others[11], the three-Judge  Bench  posed  the  question  in  the  following
terms: –

“The controversy which has been raised in  the  present  appeals
is: whether, after the members  of  Scheduled  Castes/Tribes  or
Backward Classes for whom specific percentage of posts have been
reserved and roster  has  been  provided  having  been  promoted
against those posts on  the  basis  of  “accelerated  promotion”
because of reservation of posts and applicability of the  roster
system, can claim promotion against general  category  posts  in
still higher grade on the basis of their seniority which  itself
is  the  result  of  accelerated  promotion  on  the  basis   of
reservation and roster?”

The Bench referred to the decisions in Virpal Singh  Chauhan  (supra),
R.K. Sabharwal (supra) and Indra Sawhney (supra)  and  ultimately  concurred
with the view expressed in Virpal Singh Chauhan by stating as follows: –

“16.  We respectfully concur with the  view  in  Union  of
India v.  Virpal  Singh  Chauhan,  that  seniority  between  the
reserved category  candidates  and  general  candidates  in  the
promoted category shall continue to be governed by  their  panel
position i.e. with reference to their inter se seniority in  the
lower  grade.   The  rule  of  reservation   gives   accelerated
promotion, but it does not give the  accelerated  “consequential
seniority”.  If a Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe  candidate  is
promoted earlier because of the rule of  reservation/roster  and
his senior belonging to the general category is  promoted  later
to that higher grade the general category candidate shall regain
his seniority over such earlier promoted  Scheduled  Caste/Tribe
candidate.  As already pointed out above that when  a  Scheduled
Caste/ Tribe candidate is promoted earlier by applying the  rule
of reservation/roster against a post reserved for such Scheduled
Caste/Tribe candidate, in this process he does not supersede his
seniors belonging to the  general  category.   In  this  process
there was no occasion to examine the  merit  of  such  Scheduled
Caste/Tribe candidate vis-a-vis his  seniors  belonging  to  the
general category.  As such it will be only  rational,  just  and
proper to hold that  when  the  general  category  candidate  is
promoted later from the lower grade to the higher grade, he will
be considered senior to a candidate belonging to  the  Scheduled
Caste/Tribe who had been given accelerated promotion against the
post reserved for him.  Whenever a question arises  for  filling
up a post reserved for  Scheduled  Caste/Tribe  candidate  in  a
still higher grade then such candidate  belonging  to  Scheduled
Caste/Tribe shall be promoted first but when  the  consideration
is in respect of promotion against the general category post  in
a still higher grade then the general category candidate who has
been promoted later shall be  considered  senior  and  his  case
shall  be  considered  first  for  promotion   applying   either
principle of  seniority-cum-merit  or  merit-cum-seniority.   If
this rule and procedure is not applied then result will be  that
majority of the posts in the higher grade shall be held  at  one
stage by persons who have not only entered service on the  basis
of reservation and roster but have excluded the general category
candidates from being promoted to the posts reserved for general
category candidates  merely  on  the  ground  of  their  initial
accelerated promotions.  This will not be  consistent  with  the
requirement or the spirit of Article 16(4) or Article 335 of the
Constitution.”

19.   In Jagdish Lal and others v. State of Haryana and others[12], a three-
Judge Bench opined  that  seniority  granted  to  the  Scheduled  Caste  and
Scheduled Tribe candidates over a general candidate due to  his  accelerated
promotion does not in all events get  wiped  out  on  promotion  of  general
candidate.  The Bench explained the  decisions  in  Vir  Pal  Singh  Chauhan
(supra) and Ajit Singh Januja (supra).

20.   In Ajit Singh and others (II) v. State of Punjab and  others[13],  the
Constitution Bench was concerned with the issue  whether  the  decisions  in
Vir Pal Singh Chauhan (supra) and  Ajit  Singh  Januja  (supra)  which  were
earlier decided to the effect that the seniority of  general  candidates  is
to be confirmed or whether the later deviation made in Jagdish  Lal  (supra)
against the general candidates is to be accepted.   The  Constitution  Bench
referred to Articles  16(1),  16(4)  and  16(4A)  of  the  Constitution  and
discussed at length the concept of promotion based on equal opportunity  and
seniority and treated them to be facets of Fundamental Right  under  Article
16(1) of the Constitution.  The Bench  posed  a  question  whether  Articles
16(4) and 16(4A) guarantee any Fundamental  Right  to  reservation.   Regard
being had to the nature of language employed  in  both  the  Articles,  they
were to be treated in the nature of enabling provisions.   The  Constitution
Bench opined that  Article  16(1)  deals  with  the  Fundamental  Right  and
Articles 16(4) and 16(4A) are the enabling provisions.   After  so  stating,
they proceeded  to  analyse  the  ratio  in  Indra  Sawhney  (supra),  Akhil
Bharatiya Soshit Karamchari Sangh (supra) and certain other  authorities  in
the  field  and,  eventually,  opined  that  it  is  axiomatic  in   service
jurisprudence that any promotions made wrongly in excess of  any  quota  are
to be treated as ad hoc.  This applies to reservation quota as  much  as  it
applies to direct recruits and promotee cases.  If a court decides  that  in
order only to remove hardship such roster-point promotees are  not  to  face
reversions, – then it  would,  in  our  opinion  be,  necessary  to  hold  –
consistent with our interpretation of Articles 14  and  16(1)  –  that  such
promotees cannot plead for grant of  any  additional  benefit  of  seniority
flowing from a wrong application of the roster.  While  courts  can  relieve
immediate hardship arising out of a past  illegality,  courts  cannot  grant
additional benefits like  seniority  which  have  no  element  of  immediate
hardship.  Ultimately  while  dealing  with  the  promotions  already  given
before 10.2.1995 the Bench directed as follows: –

“Thus, while promotions in excess of roster  made  before  10-2-
1995 are  protected,  such  promotees  cannot  claim  seniority.
Seniority in the promotional cadre of such  excess  roster-point
promotees shall have to be reviewed  after  10-2-1995  and  will
count only from the date on which they would have otherwise  got
normal promotion  in  any  future  vacancy  arising  in  a  post
previously occupied by a reserved candidate.  That  disposes  of
the “prospectivity” point in relation to Sabharwal.”

21.   At this juncture, it is  condign  to  note  that  Article  16(4A)  and
Article 16 (4B) were inserted in the Constitution to confer  promotion  with
consequential seniority and  introduced  the  concept  of  carrying  forward
vacancies treating the vacancies meant for reserved category  candidates  as
a separate class of vacancies.  The said Articles as amended  from  time  to
time read as follows: –

“16(4A)    Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State
from  making  any  provision  for  reservation  in  matters   of
promotion, with consequential seniority, to any class or classes
of posts in the services  under  the  State  in  favour  of  the
Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes which, in the  opinion
of the State, are not adequately  represented  in  the  services
under the State.

16(4B)      Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from
considering any unfilled vacancies of a year which are  reserved
for being  filled  up  in  that  year  in  accordance  with  any
provision for reservation made under clause (4)  or  (4A)  as  a
separate class of vacancies to be filled up  in  any  succeeding
year  or  years  and  such  class  of  vacancies  shall  not  be
considered together with the vacancies of the year in which they
are being filled up for determining the  ceiling  of  fifty  per
cent reservation on total number of that year.”

22.   The validity of the said Articles were challenged under Article 32  of
the Constitution of India before this Court and the  Constitution  Bench  in
M. Nagraj (supra) upheld the validity of  the  said  Articles  with  certain
qualifiers/riders by taking recourse to the process of  interpretation.   As
the controversy rests mainly on the said decision, we will advert to  it  in
detail at a later stage.

23.   Presently,  we  shall  dwell  upon  the  provisions  that  were  under
challenge before the High Court.  The Legislative Assembly of Uttar  Pradesh
brought  in  a  legislation,  namely,  the  Uttar  Pradesh  Public  Services
(Reservation for Scheduled  Castes,  Scheduled  Tribes  and  other  Backward
Classes) Act, 1994 (UP Act No. 4 of 1994)  to  provide  for  reservation  in
public services and posts in favour of the persons  belonging  to  Scheduled
Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward  Classes  of  citizens  and  for
matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.   Section 3(7), which  is
relevant for our present purpose, reads as follows: –

“Reservation in  favour  of  Scheduled  Castes,  Scheduled
Tribes and other Backward Classes. –

……           ……….       ……….

(7)   If, on the date of commencement of this  Act,  reservation
was in force under Government Orders for appointment to posts to
be filled by promotion, such Government Orders shall continue to
be applicable till they are modified or revoked.”

Sub-section (7) of Section 3 was the subject-matter of  assail  before
the High Court.

24.    As the factual matrix  would  reveal,  the  State  of  Uttar  Pradesh
brought into existence  the  Uttar  Pradesh  Government  Servants  Seniority
(First Amendment) Rules, 2002 on the 18th of October, 2002  in  exercise  of
the power conferred under Article 309  of  the  Constitution  whereby  after
Rule 8, new Rule 8-A was inserted.  The said Rule reads as follows: –

“8-A. Notwithstanding anything contained in Rule s6,7  or  8  of
these rules, a person  belonging  to  the  Scheduled  Castes  or
Scheduled Tribes shall on his promotion by  virtue  of  rule  of
reservation/ roster,  be  entitled  to  consequential  seniority
also.”

25.   It is worth noting  that  on  May  13,  2005,  by  the  Uttar  Pradesh
Government Servants Seniority (Second Amendment) Rules, 2005, Rule  8-A  was
omitted.  However, it was provided in the said  Rules  that  the  promotions
made in accordance with the revised seniority as determined under  Rule  8-A
prior to  the  commencement  of  the  2005  Rules  could  not  be  affected.
Thereafter, on September 14, 2007, by the Uttar Pradesh Government  Servants
Seniority (Third Amendment) Rules, 2007, Rule 8-A was inserted in  the  same
language  which  we  have  already  reproduced  hereinabove.   It  has  been
mentioned in the said Rule that it shall be deemed to have come  into  force
on June 17,  1995.   It  is  germane  to  note  here  that  the  U.P.  Power
Corporation Limited adopted the said Rules as there is no dispute about  the
fact that after the Rules came into existence and have been given effect  to
at some places and that is why the challenge to the constitutional  validity
of the Act and the Rules was made before the High Court.   We  have  already
indicated how both the Benches have dealt with the said situation.

26.   At this stage, we may usefully state that  though  number  of  appeals
have been preferred, yet some relate to the assail  of  the  interim  orders
and some to the final orders.  We may only state for  the  sake  of  clarity
and convenience that if Section 3(7) and Rule 8-A as  amended  in  2007  are
held to  be  constitutionally  valid,  all  the  appeals  are  bound  to  be
dismissed and if they are held to be ultra vires, then the  judgment  passed
by   the   Lucknow   Bench   shall   stand   affirmed   subject    to    any
clarification/modification in our order.

27.   As has been noticed hereinbefore, the Allahabad Bench  had  understood
the dictum in M. Nagaraj (supra) in a  different  manner  and  the  Division
Bench at Lucknow in a different manner.  The learned counsel  appearing  for
various  parties  have  advanced  their  contentions  in  support   of   the
provisions in the enactment and the Rules.  We would like to condense  their
basic arguments and endeavour to  pigeon-hole  keeping  in  view  the  facts
which are requisite to be referred to at the time of analysis  of  the  said
decision in the backdrop of the verdict in M. Nagaraj (supra).

28.   Mr. Andhyarujina and Mr. Raju Ram  Chandran,  learned  senior  counsel
criticising the decision passed by the Lucknow Bench,  have  submitted  that
the High  Court  has  fallen  into  grave  error  by  not  scrutinising  the
materials produced before it, as a  consequence  of  which  a  sanctuary  of
errors have crept into it.  If the counter  affidavit  and  other  documents
are studiedly scanned, it would be luminescent that opinion has been  formed
as regards inadequate representation in promotional  posts  and,  therefore,
it had become an imperative to provide for reservation.  The opinion  formed
by the Government need not be with mathematical precision to broad  spectrum
and such exercise has already  been  done  by  the  State  of  U.P.,   since
reservation in promotional  matters  was  already  in  vogue  by  virtue  of
administrative circulars and statutory provisions for  few  decades.      It
is urged that the concept  of  inadequate  representation  and  backwardness
have  been  accepted  by  the  amending  power  of  the  Constitution   and,
therefore, the High Court has totally flawed by laying unwarranted  emphasis
on the said concepts.  The High Court could not have sat in  appeal  on  the
rule of reservation solely on the factual bedrock.   The  chart  brought  on
record would reflect department wise how the persons from  backward  classes
have not been extended the benefit of  promotion  and  the  same  forms  the
foundation for making the enactment and  framing  the  rule  and  hence,  no
fault could have been found with the same.  Once  an  incumbent  belongs  to
Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes   category,  it  is  conclusive  that  he
suffers from backwardness and no further enquiry is necessary.  It has  been
clearly held in  the  case  of  Indra  Sawhney  (supra)  that  the  test  or
requirement of social and educational  backwardness  cannot  be  applied  to
Scheduled  Castes/  Scheduled  Tribes  who  indubitably  fall   within   the
expression ‘Backward Classes of Citizen’.    It  is  beyond  any  shadow  of
doubt that Scheduled Castes/  Scheduled  Tribes  are  a  separate  class  by
themselves and the creamy layer principle is not  applicable  to  them.   It
has been so held in Avinash Singh Bagri and Ors. v. Registrar IIT Delhi  and
Another[14].   Article 16 (4A) uses the phrase ‘in the opinion of’  and  the
said word carries a different meaning to convey that  it  is  subjective  in
nature  rather  than  objective.    The  Report  of  the   “Social   Justice
Committee” dated 28.06.2001 clearly ascertains the need  for  implementation
of reservation in promotional matters in public service in  U.  P.  and  the
said Report deserves acceptance.  The  State  Government  was  possessed  of
sufficient materials to  implement  the  promotional  provisions  which  are
enabling in nature  and  the  same  is  justified  by  the  “Social  Justice
Committee Report” which has examined the current  status  of  implementation
of Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes and other backward  classes  in  other
public services  with  respect  to  their  quota,  their  participation  and
progress in various services, the substantial backlog in  promotional  posts
in category A, B and  C  posts  and  the  inadequacy  of  representation  in
promotional posts and various  departments  and  State  owned  corporations.
The High Court has completely erred  specially  when  there  was  sufficient
data available with the State Government.  Regard being had  to  the  factum
that the said promotions were being given for few decades, a fresh  exercise
regarding  adequacy  was  not  necessary.   The  concept  of  efficiency  as
stipulated under Article 335 of the Constitution is in no  way  affected  if
the reservation does not exceed 50%.    The  consequential  seniority  being
vested by the Constitution, it follows as natural corollary  and  hence,  no
further exercise was required to be undertaken.   The  learned  counsel  for
the State has drawn  the  attention  of  this  Court  with  respect  to  the
percentage of representation to justify that requisite  data  was  available
and no further exercise was needed and, therefore, the decision of the  High
Court is fundamentally fallacious.

29.   Mr. P. S Patwalia, learned senior counsel appearing  in  some  appeals
for  the  corporation,  has  submitted  that  the  requirement   of   having
quantifiable data is not a new concept propounded in the case of M.   Nagraj
(supra) but is a  reiteration  of  the  earlier  view  enunciated  in  Indra
Sawhney case (supra) and, therefore,  the  provision  could  not  have  been
declared as  ultra  vires.   The  emphasis  on  backwardness  is  absolutely
misconceived, for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes are  duly  notified  as
such in the Presidential list by virtue of  Articles  341  and  342  of  the
Constitution.  Their exclusion from the  list  can  alone  be  done  by  the
amendment of the Presidential Order and hence, any  kind  of  collection  of
data as regards the backwardness is an exercise in  futility.   The  concept
of creamy layer principle cannot be applied to Scheduled  Castes/  Scheduled
Tribes as has been held in the case  of  Ashok  Kumar  Thakur  v.  Union  of
India[15].       Learned senior counsel has placed reliance on the  decision
in E. V. Chinniah v. State of Andhra Pradesh[16]  to  highlight  that  there
may be only one list of Scheduled  Castes/Scheduled  Tribes  and  this  list
constitutes one group for the purpose of reservation and the same cannot  be
interfered with, disturbed, re-grouped or re-classified by  the  State.   In
essence, the submission is that there may not  be  exclusion  by  engrafting
the principle of backwardness for the purpose of reservation  in  promotion.
Commenting on the adequacy of representation, it is urged by  Mr.   Patwalia
that the data was immediately collected after the 1994 Act  and  thereafter,
no fresh data was necessary to be collected after the decision  rendered  by
the Constitution Bench in M. Nagraj (supra).  It  is  further  submitted  by
the learned counsel that even if quantifiable data  is  not  collected,  the
State can be asked to do so in view of the order passed by this Court in  S.
B Joshi  v. State of Karnatka and Others in W.P.  259  of  1994  decided  on
13.07.2010.  The efficiency of service as encapsuled in Article 335  of  the
Constitution  has  been  duly  respected  by  providing  a  uniform  minimum
standard of the matters of promotion as far as the Corporation is  concerned
and, therefore, no fault can be found in that regard.

30.   Mr.  P. P. Rao,  learned senior counsel  appearing  for  some  of  the
private respondents assailing the decision of the Lucknow Bench,  has  urged
that when there was no challenge to the orders issued  prior  the  amendment
for reservation in promotion, no quantifiable  data is  necessary.   Section
3 (7) of the 1994 Act does  not  make  any  change  except  recognising  the
earlier orders which lay down that they  shall  continue  to  be  applicable
till it is modified or revoked and, therefore, it has  only  been  conferred
statutory recognition.     The High Court has misunderstood the decision  in
M. Nagraj (supra) while stating that the  collection  of  quantifiable  data
was not undertaken though  the  said  decision  clearly  lays  down  that  a
collection of quantifiable data showing backwardness for the class would  be
required while demonstrating the same in Court to the  extent  of  promotion
when it is under challenge.  In the case at  hand,  the  issue  is  not  the
extent  of  reservation  or  excessive  reservation   but   reservation   in
promotion.  That apart, the principles laid down in  M.  Nagraj  (supra)  do
not get attracted if reservation in promotion is sought to be made  for  the
first  time  but  not  for  continuing  the  reservation  on  the  basis  of
assessment made by the Parliament in exercise  of  its  constituent  powers.
The Constitutional Amendment removed the  base  of  the  decision  in  Indra
Sawhney (supra) that reservation in promotion is  not  permissible  and  the
Government in its wisdom has carried out the assessment earlier and  decided
to continue the policy and, therefore, to lay down  the  principle  that  in
view of the decision in M Nagraj (supra),  a  fresh  exercise  is  necessary
would tantamount to putting the concept in the realm  of  inherent  fallacy.
The decision in Suraj Bhan Meena  and  Another  v.  State  of  Rajasthan  &
Ors.[17] is not a binding  precedent  inasmuch  as  it  takes  note  of  the
contention (at paragraph 24 at page no.  474-475 of  the  Report)  but  does
not deal with it.  The  85th  Amendment  which  provides  for  consequential
seniority wipes out the  ‘catch  up’   rule  ‘from  its  inception  and  the
general principle of seniority from the date of promotion  operates  without
any break and for  the  same  reason  the  said  amendment  had  been  given
retrospective effect’.  The intention of  the  Parliament  at  the  time  of
exercise of its constitutional power clearly states that the  representation
of Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes in the services in the States had  not
reached the required level and it is  necessary  to  continue  the  existing
position of providing reservation in promotion  in  the  case  of  Scheduled
Castes/ Scheduled Tribes.  The  learned  senior  counsel  has  laid  immense
emphasis on the intention of the Parliament and the Legislature to  continue
the policy and, pyramiding the said submission, he  has  contended  that  no
fresh exercise is required.    It is propounded by Mr. Rao that  Article  16
basically relates to classes and not backward individuals and therefore,  no
stress should be given on  the  backwardness.   Alternatively,  the  learned
senior counsel has submitted that the matter should be referred to a  larger
Bench, regard being had to the important issue involved in the case.

31.    Mr. Rakesh Dwivedi, learned senior counsel  who  represents  some  of
the petitioners aggrieved by the Lucknow  Bench  decision,  has  urged  that
backwardness is presumed in view of the nine-Judge Bench decision  in  Indra
Sawhney (supra) and the same has to  be  regarded  beyond  any  cavil.   The
dictum in  M.  Nagraj  (supra) cannot be understood  to  mandate  collection
of quantifiable data for judging the backwardness of the  Scheduled  Castes/
Scheduled   Tribes   while   making   reservation   in   promotion.     But,
unfortunately, the High Court has understood the Judgment in  the  aforesaid
manner.   There  is  no  material  produced  on  record  to  establish  that
Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes  candidates  having  been  conferred  the
benefit  of  promotion  under  reservation  have  ceased  to  be   backward.
Though the decision in Indra Sawhney (supra)  held  that  the  promotion  in
reservation is impermissible, yet it continued the reservation in  promotion
for a period of five years and, therefore, the Constitution  Amendment  came
into force in this backdrop Section 3 (7) of the 1994  Act  could  not  have
been treated to be invalid.  But the stand that the refixation of  seniority
after coming into existence of Rule 8-A of the Rules  or  the  rule  by  the
corporation is basically fallacious, for persons who were  promoted  earlier
to the higher post are entitled to seniority from  the  date  of  promotion.
The learned senior counsel has contended that after  coming  into  force  of
the amendment  of  the  Constitution  by  inserting  Article  16  (4A),  the
decisions in Rangachary (supra) and Akhil Bhartiya Karmachari Sangh  (supra)
have been restored and the concept of ‘catch up’ rule as propounded in  Ajit
Singh II (supra) has also been nullified.  Article 16  (4A)  only  makes  it
explicit  what  is  implicit  under  service  jurisprudence  in  matters  of
promotion and the said benefit was always enjoyed by the  Scheduled  Castes/
Scheduled Tribes people and M. Nagraj (supra) does not intend to affect  the
said aspect.  The learned counsel has referred to  paragraph  798  of  Indra
Sawhney (supra) to highlight the  scope  of  judicial  scrutiny  in  matters
which are within the subjective satisfaction of the executive and are to  be
tested as per  the law laid down in Barium Chemicals v.  Company  Law  Board
[18].  In essence, the submission is that in adequacy of  representation  is
in the domain of subjective satisfaction of the State Government and  is  to
be regarded as a policy decision of the State.  The learned  senior  counsel
has distinguished the principle enunciated in Suraj Bhan Meena (supra).   In
that case, the court was not dealing with an  issue  where  the  reservation
had already been made and was in  continuance.   It  is  highlighted  by  Mr
Dwivedi that in the present case the issue is not  one  where  there  is  no
material on record to justify  the  subjective  satisfaction,  but,  on  the
contrary, there is adequate material to show that the State  Government  was
justified in introducing the provision in the Act and the Rule.  As  regards
the efficiency in administration  has  mandate  under  Article  335  of  the
Constitution, the submission of  Mr.  Dwivedi  is  that  the  constitutional
amendment has been made keeping  in  mind  the  decision  in  Indra  Sawhney
(supra) and the amendment of Article 335  facilitates  the  reservations  in
promotion.  The learned senior counsel would  contend  that  maintenance  of
efficiency basically would convey laying a prescription by  maintaining  the
minimum standard and in the case of the Corporation it  has  been  so  done.
It has been propounded by him that if backwardness  becomes  the  criterion,
it would bring out the internal conflict in the dictum of M. Nagraj  (supra)
and then in that case it has to be reconciled keeping  in  view  the  common
thread of judgment or the matter should  be  referred  to  a  larger  Bench.
In any case, M. Nagraj (supra) does not lay down that the quantifiable  data
of backwardness should be  collected  with  respect  to  eligible  Scheduled
Castes/ Scheduled Tribes employees seeking  promotion.    Mr.  Dwivedi   has
commended to  the decision in  Union  of  India  v.  Rakesh  Kumar  [19]  to
highlight that the proportion of population is the thumb rule as far as  the
Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes are concerned  and  that  should  be  the
laser  beam  to  adjudge   the  concept  of   inadequacy   of   reservation.
Reservation in promotion involves a balancing act between the national  need
to equalise by affirmative action and to do social justice on one  hand  and
to ensure that equality of opportunity as envisaged under Article 14 is  not
unduly affected by the benefit of promotion which has been conferred by  the
Act and Rules on the Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes as a  balancing  act
and same has always been upheld by this Court.

32.   Mr. Shanti Bhushan, learned senior counsel,  has  submitted  that  the
Constitution Bench in M. Nagaraj  (supra)  has  clearly  laid  down  certain
conditions, namely,  that  there  must  be  compelling  reasons  for  making
reservation in promotion; that the State is not bound  to  make  reservation
for Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes in matters of promotion; that if  the
State thinks that there are compelling reasons to make such  reservation  in
promotion,  it  is  obligatory  on  the  part  of  the  State   to   collect
quantifiable data showing the backwardness of the class  and  inadequacy  of
representation of that class in public employment and also  by  making  such
reservation in promotion, the efficiency in administration is not  affected;
that the exercise is required to be made before making any  reservation  for
promotion; that the State has not applied its mind to  the  question  as  to
what  could  be  regarded  as  an  adequate  representation  for   Scheduled
Castes/Scheduled Tribes in respect of  promotion;  that  the  provision  for
reservation in matters of promotion has to be considered  in  any  class  or
classes of posts not adequately represented in the services under the  State
but unfortunately, the exercise in that regard has not at all been taken  up
but amendments have been incorporated; that the concept of backwardness  and
inadequacy of representation  as  understood  in  the  case  of  M.  Nagaraj
(supra) has been absolutely misunderstood  and  misconstrued  by  the  State
Government as a consequence of which the Rules of the  present  nature  have
come into existence; that the overall efficiency as enshrined under  Article
335 of the Constitution has been given a total go-bye  which  makes  Section
3(7) of the 1994 Act and Rule 8-A absolutely vulnerable and thereby  invites
the frown of the enabling provision and the dictum in  M.  Nagaraj  (supra);
that Rule 8-A which confers accelerated seniority would leave  no  room  for
the efficient general category officers which is not the  intention  of  the
framers of the  Constitution  and  also  as  it  is  understood  by  various
decisions of this Court.

33.   Dr. Rajeev Dhavan, learned senior counsel, supporting the decision  of
the Division  Bench  which  has  declared  the  Rule  as  ultra  vires,  has
submitted that if M. Nagaraj (supra)  is  properly  read,  it  does  clearly
convey  that  social  justice  is  an  over  reaching   principle   of   the
Constitution like secularism,  democracy,  reasonableness,  social  justice,
etc. and it emphasises on the equality code and the parameters fixed by  the
Constitution Bench as the basic purpose is to bring in a  state  of  balance
but the said balance is destroyed by Section 3(7) of the 1994 Act  and  Rule
8-A inasmuch as no exercise has been undertaken during the post  M.  Nagaraj
(supra)  period.   In  M.  Nagraj  (supra),  there  has  been  emphasis   on
interpretation and implementation, width and identity, essence of  a  right,
the equality code and  avoidance  of  reverse  discrimination,  the  nuanced
distinction between the adequacy and  proportionality,  backward  class  and
backwardness, the concept of contest specificity as  regards  equal  justice
and efficiency, permissive nature of the provisions and  conceptual  essence
of guided power, the implementation in concrete terms which would not  cause
violence to the  constitutional  mandate;  and  the  effect  of  accelerated
seniority and the conditions prevalent for satisfaction  of  the  conditions
precedent to invoke the settled  principles.   The  learned  senior  counsel
further submitted that M. Nagaraj (supra) deals with  cadre  and  the  posts
but the State has applied it across the  board  without  any  kind  of  real
quantifiable data  after pronouncement of the M.  Nagaraj  (supra).   It  is
his further submission that after Section 3(7) of the 1994 Act and  Rule  8-
A are allowed to  stand,  the  balancing   factor  which  has  so  far  been
sustained by this Court especially pertaining  to  reservation  would  stand
crucified. It is urged by him that the chart  supplied  by  the  State  only
refers to the number and, seniority of officers but it does  not  throw  any
light on the core issue and further, a mere submission of a chart would  not
meet the requisite criteria as specified in M. Nagaraj (supra).

34.   Mr. Vinod  Bobde,  learned  senior  counsel,  has  submitted  that  if
accelerated seniority is confirmed on  the  roster  by  the  promotees,  the
consequences would be disastrous inasmuch as the  said  employee  can  reach
the fourth level by the time he attains the age of 45 years and at  the  age
of 49, he would reach the highest  level  and  stay  there  for  nine  years
whereas a general merit promotee would reach the third level out of the  six
levels at the age of 56 and by the time he gets eligibility to get into  the
fourth level, he would reach the age of superannuation.  It is urged by  him
that if reservation in promotion is to be made, there has to  be  collection
of quantifiable data, regard being had to the  backwardness  and  inadequacy
of representation in respect of the posts in a particular  cadre  and  while
doing so, the  other  condition  as  engrafted  under  Article  335  of  the
Constitution  relating  to  the  efficiency  of  administration  has  to  be
maintained.  It is his  further  submission  that  in  M.  Nagaraj  (supra),
Articles 16(4A) and 16(4B) have been treated to be enabling  provisions  and
an enabling provision does not create a fundamental  right.   If  the  State
thinks to exercise the power, it has  to  exercise  the  power  strictly  in
accordance with  the  conditions  postulated  in  the  case  of  M.  Nagaraj
(supra).  The State of U.P. has totally misguided itself by  harbouring  the
notion that merely because there has  to  be   representation  of  Scheduled
Castes and Scheduled Tribes  in  the  services,  the  State  is  obliged  to
provide for reservation in promotion  under  Article  16(4A).   The  learned
senior counsel would vehemently contend that nothing  has  been  brought  on
record to show that after pronouncement of M.  Nagaraj  (supra),  the  State
had carried out an exercise but has built a castle in Spain by stating  that
the provision being always there, the data was available.  It  is  canvassed
that the stand of the State runs counter to the principles laid down  in  M.
Nagaraj  (supra)  which  makes  Section  3(7)  and  Rule   8-A   sensitively
susceptible.  The consequential seniority was introduced on  18.10.2002  but
was obliterated on 13.5.2005 and thereafter, it  was  revived  on  14.9.2007
with  retrospective  effect  and  the  reason  is  demonstrable   from   the
order/circular  dated  17.10.2007  which  is  based   on   total   erroneous
understanding and appreciation of the law laid down by this  Court.   It  is
argued by him that the Act and the Rules  were  amended  solely  keeping  in
view the constitutional provision totally ignoring  how  the  said  Articles
were interpreted by this Court.  It is propounded  by  Mr.  Bobde  that  the
State has referred  to  certain  data  and  the  “Social  Justice  Committee
Report” of 2001 but the  same  cannot  save  the  edifice  of  the  impugned
statutory provision and the Rules as the State could  not  have  anticipated
what this  Court  was  going  to  say  while  upholding  the  constitutional
validity.

35.   Mr. Ranjit Kumar, learned senior counsel, has  laid  immense  emphasis
on paragraphs 121 to 123 of M. Nagaraj (supra) to buttress  the  stand  that
reservation in promotional matters is subject to the  conditions  enumerated
in the said paragraphs.  The learned senior counsel  has  drawn  inspiration
from an order dated 11.3.2010 passed by a two-Judge Bench in  Writ  Petition
(civil) 81 of 2002 wherein the direction was given that the validity may  be
challenged and on such challenge, the same shall be decided in view  of  the
final decision in M.  Nagaraj  (supra).   The  learned  senior  counsel  has
placed reliance on Ashok Kumar Thakur v. Union of India  and  others[20]  to
highlight  that  any  privilege  given  to  a  class  should  not  lead   to
inefficiency.  Emphasis has also been laid on the term  backwardness  having
nexus with the reservation in promotion and collection of quantifiable  data
in a proper perspective.  He has drawn inspiration from  various  paragraphs
in M. Nagaraj (supra) to show  that  when  an  enabling  provision  is  held
valid, its  exercise  can  be  arbitrary  and  in  the  case  at  hand,  the
provisions are absolutely arbitrary, unreasonable and irrational.

36.         To appreciate the rival submissions raised at the  bar  and  the
core controversy, it is absolutely seemly to understand what has  been  held
in M. Nagraj  (supra)  by  the  Constitution  Bench.   While  assailing  the
validity  of  Article  16(4A)  of  the  Constitution  which   provides   for
reservation in promotion with a consequential seniority,  it  was  contended
that equity in the context of Article 16(1) connotes  accelerated  promotion
so as not to include consequential seniority and as consequential  seniority
has  been  attached  to  the  accelerated  promotion,   the   constitutional
amendment is violative  of  Article  14  read  with  Article  16(1)  of  the
Constitution.  Various examples were  cited  about  the  disastrous  affects
that would be ushered in, in view of the amendment.  After  noting  all  the
contentions, the Constitution Bench addressed to the concept of  reservation
in the context of Article 16(4) and further proceeded to deal  with  equity,
justice and merit.  In that context, the Bench stated thus: –
“This problem has to be examined, therefore,  on  the  facts  of
each case. Therefore, Article 16(4) has to be construed  in  the
light  of  Article 335 of  the   Constitution.   Inadequacy   in
representation and backwardness of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled
Tribes are circumstances which enable the  State  Government  to
act under Article 16(4) of the Constitution. However, as held by
this Court the limitations on the discretion of  the  Government
in the matter of  reservation  under  Article 16(4) as  well  as
Article 16(4A) come  in   the   form   of   Article 335 of   the
Constitution.”

While  dealing  with  reservation   and   affirmative   action,   the
Constitution Bench opined thus: –

“48.  It is the equality “in  fact”  which  has  to  be  decided
looking at the ground reality.  Balancing  comes  in  where  the
question concerns the extent of reservation. If  the  extent  of
reservation goes beyond cut-off point then it results in reverse
discrimination. Anti-discrimination legislation has  a  tendency
of pushing towards de facto reservation. Therefore, a  numerical
benchmark  is   the   surest   immunity   against   charges   of
discrimination.

49. Reservation is necessary for transcending caste and not  for
perpetuating it. Reservation has to be used in a  limited  sense
otherwise  it  will  perpetuate   casteism   in   the   country.
Reservation  is  under-written  by  a   special   justification.
Equality  in  Article 16(1) is  individual-   specific   whereas
reservation in Article 16(4) and Article 16 (4-A)  is  enabling.
The  discretion  of  the  State  is,  however,  subject  to  the
existence of “backwardness” and “inadequacy  of  representation”
in public employment. Backwardness has to be based on  objective
factors whereas inadequacy has to factually exist. This is where
judicial review comes in.  However,  whether  reservation  in  a
given case is desirable or not, as a policy, is not  for  us  to
decide as long as the parameters mentioned in Articles 16(4) and
16(4-A) are maintained. As stated  above,  equity,  justice  and
merit (Article 335)/efficiency are variables which can  only  be
identified and measured by the State. Therefore, in each case, a
contextual case has to be  made  out  depending  upon  different
circumstances which may exist Statewise.”

37.   The Bench referred  to  the  cases  of  Indra  Sawhney  (supra),  R.K.
Sabharwal (supra), Vir Pal Singh Chauhan (supra),  Ajit  Singh  (I)  (supra)
and Ajit Singh (II) (supra) and opined that the  concept  of  catch-up  rule
and consequential seniority are judicially evolved concepts to  control  the
extent in reservation and the creation  of  this  concept  is  relatable  to
service jurisprudence.  Thereafter, the Constitution Bench referred  to  the
scope of the  impugned  amendment  and  the  Objects  and  Reasons  and,  in
paragraph 86, observed thus: –

“Clause (4-A) follows the pattern specified in Clauses  (3)  and
(4) of Article 16. Clause (4-A) of  Article  16  emphasizes  the
opinion  of  the  States  in   the   matter   of   adequacy   of
representation. It gives freedom to the State in an  appropriate
case  depending  upon  the  ground  reality   to   provide   for
reservation in matters of promotion to any class or  classes  of
posts in the services. The State has to form its opinion on  the
quantifiable data regarding adequacy of  representation.  Clause
(4-A) of Article 16 is an enabling provision. It  gives  freedom
to the State to provide for reservation in matters of promotion.
Clause (4-A) of Article 16 applies only to SCs and STs. The said
clause is carved out of Article 16(4). Therefore,  Clause  (4-A)
will be governed by the two compelling reasons –  “backwardness”
and   “inadequacy   of   representation”,   as   mentioned    in
Article 16(4). If the said two reasons do  not  exist  then  the
enabling provision cannot come into force. The  State  can  make
provision for reservation only if the  above  two  circumstances
exist. Further in Ajit Singh (II) , this  Court  has  held  that
apart from “backwardness” and “inadequacy of representation” the
State shall also keep  in  mind  “overall  efficiency”  (Article
335). Therefore, all the three factors have to be kept  in  mind
by the appropriate Government in providing  for  reservation  in
promotion for SCs and STs.”

Thereafter, the Bench referred to the 2000 Amendment Act, the  Objects
and Reasons and the proviso inserted to Article 335 of the Constitution  and
held thus: –

“98.  By the Constitution (Eighty-Second Amendment) Act, 2000, a
proviso  was  inserted  at  the  end  of  Article 335   of   the
Constitution which reads as under:

“Provided that nothing in this article shall  prevent
in making of any provision in favour of the members of  the
Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes for relaxation in
qualifying  marks  in  any  examination  or  lowering   the
standards of evaluation,  for  reservation  in  matters  of
promotion to any class or classes of services or  posts  in
connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.”

99.    This  proviso  was  added  following   the   benefit   of
reservation in promotion conferred upon SCs and STs alone.  This
proviso was inserted keeping in mind the judgment of this  Court
in Vinod Kumar which took the view that relaxation in matters of
reservation   in   promotion   was   not    permissible    under
Article 16(4) in view of the command contained  in  Article 335.
Once a  separate  category  is  carved  out  of  Clause  (4)  of
Article 16 then that  category  is  being  given  relaxation  in
matters of reservation in promotion. The proviso is confined  to
SCs and STs alone. The  said  proviso  is  compatible  with  the
scheme of Article 16(4-A).”

In paragraph 102, their Lordships have ruled thus: –

“Clause (4) of Article 16, however, states that the  appropriate
Government is free to provide for reservation in cases where  it
is satisfied on the basis of  quantifiable  data  that  backward
class is inadequately represented in the services. Therefore, in
every case where the State decides to  provide  for  reservation
there must exist two circumstances, namely,  “backwardness”  and
“inadequacy of representation’. As stated above, equity, justice
and efficiency are variable factors. These factors are  context-
specific. There is no fixed yardstick to  identify  and  measure
these  three  factors,  it  will  depend  on   the   facts   and
circumstances of each case. These are  the  limitations  on  the
mode of the exercise of  power  by  the  State.  None  of  these
limitations have been removed by the impugned amendments. If the
concerned State fails  to  identify  and  measure  backwardness,
inadequacy and overall administrative efficiency  then  in  that
event the provision for  reservation  would  be  invalid.  These
amendments     do     not     alter     the     structure     of
Articles 14, 15 and 16 (equity code). The  parameters  mentioned
in Article 16(4) are retained.  Clause  (4-A)  is  derived  from
Clause (4) of Article 16. Clause (4-A) is confined  to  SCs  and
STs alone. Therefore, the  present  case  does  not  change  the
identity of the Constitution.”

After so stating, it was observed that there is no violation  of  the  basic
structure of the Constitution and the provisions  are  enabling  provisions.
At that juncture, it has been observed as follows: –

“Article 16(4) is enacted as a remedy for  the  past  historical
discriminations against a social class. The object  in  enacting
the enabling provisions  like  Articles 16(4), 16(4-A) and 16(4-
B) is that the State is empowered to identify and recognize  the
compelling interests. If the State has quantifiable data to show
backwardness and inadequacy then the State can make reservations
in promotions keeping in mind maintenance of efficiency which is
held to be a constitutional limitation on the discretion of  the
State in making reservation  as  indicated  by  Article 335.  As
stated  above,  the  concepts   of   efficiency,   backwardness,
inadequacy of representation are required to be  identified  and
measured. That exercise depends on availability  of  data.  That
exercise depends on numerous factors. It is for this reason that
enabling  provisions  are  required  to  be  made  because  each
competing claim seeks to achieve certain  goals.  How  best  one
should optimize these conflicting claims can only be done by the
administration in the context of local prevailing conditions  in
public employment. This is amply  demonstrated  by  the  various
decisions of this Court discussed hereinabove. Therefore,  there
is a basic difference between “equality in law” and “equality in
fact”   (See Affirmative   Action   by   William   Darity).   If
Articles 16(4-A) and 16(4-B)  flow  from  Article 16(4) and   if
Article 16(4) is  an  enabling  provision  then   Articles 16(4-
A) and 16(4-B) are also enabling  provisions.  As  long  as  the
boundaries mentioned  in  Article 16(4),  namely,  backwardness,
inadequacy and efficiency  of  administration  are  retained  in
Articles 16(4-A) and 16(4-B) as controlling factors,  we  cannot
attribute   constitutional   invalidity   to   these    enabling
provisions. However,  when  the  State  fails  to  identify  and
implement the controlling factors then excessiveness  comes  in,
which is to be decided on the facts of each  case.  In  a  given
case, where excessiveness  results  in  reverse  discrimination,
this Court has to examine individual cases and decide the matter
in accordance with law. This is the theory  of  “guided  power”.
We may once again repeat that equality is not violated  by  mere
conferment of power but it is breached by arbitrary exercise  of
the power conferred.”

In paragraph 108, the Bench analyzed  the  concept  of  application  of  the
doctrine of guided power under Article 335 of the Constitution and, in  that
context,  opined thus: –

“Therefore, the question before us is – whether the State  could
be  empowered  to  relax  qualifying  marks  or  standards   for
reservation in matters of promotion. In  our  view,  even  after
insertion of this proviso, the limitation of overall  efficiency
in Article 335 is not obliterated. Reason is  that  “efficiency”
is a variable factor. It is for State  concerned  to decide in a
given case, whether the overall  efficiency  of  the  system  is
affected by such relaxation. If the relaxation is  so  excessive
that it ceases to be qualifying marks then certainly in a  given
case, as in the past, the  State  is  free  not  to  relax  such
standards. In other cases, the  State  may  evolve  a  mechanism
under which efficiency, equity and justice, all three variables,
could be accommodated. Moreover, Article 335 is to be read  with
Article 46 which provides that  the  State  shall  promote  with
special care the  educational  and  economic  interests  of  the
weaker sections  of  the  people  and,  in  particular,  of  the
scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, and  shall  protect  them
from  social  injustice.  Therefore,  where  the   State   finds
compelling interests of  backwardness  and  inadequacy,  it  may
relax  the  qualifying  marks  for  SCs/STs.  These   compelling
interests  however  have  to  be  identified  by   weighty   and
comparable data.”

Thereafter, the Constitution Bench proceeded to deal with the test  to
judge the validity of the impugned State Acts and opined as follows: –

“110. As stated above, the boundaries of the width of the power,
namely, the ceiling-limit of 50% (the numerical benchmark),  the
principle of  creamy  layer,  the  compelling  reasons,  namely,
backwardness,  inadequacy  of  representation  and  the  overall
administrative efficiency are not obliterated  by  the  impugned
amendments. At the appropriate time, we have to consider the law
as enacted  by  various  States  providing  for  reservation  if
challenged. At that time we have to see whether  limitations  on
the exercise of  power  are  violated.  The  State  is  free  to
exercise its discretion of providing for reservation subject  to
limitation, namely, that there must exist compelling reasons  of
backwardness, inadequacy of representation in a class of post(s)
keeping in mind the overall  administrative  efficiency.  It  is
made  clear  that  even  if  the  State  has  reasons  to   make
reservation, as stated above, if the impugned law  violates  any
of the above substantive limits on the width of  the  power  the
same would be liable to be set aside.”

In paragraph 117,  the Bench laid down as follows: –

“The extent of reservation has to be decided on  facts  of  each
case.  The  judgment  in Indra  Sawhney does   not   deal   with
constitutional amendments.  In  our  present  judgment,  we  are
upholding the validity of the constitutional amendments  subject
to the limitations. Therefore, in each case the Court has got to
be satisfied that the State has exercised its opinion in  making
reservations in promotions for SCs and STs  and  for  which  the
State  concerned  will  have  to  place  before  the  Court  the
requisite quantifiable data in each case and satisfy  the  Court
that such reservations became necessary on account of inadequacy
of representation of SCs/ STs in a particular class  or  classes
of posts without affecting  general  efficiency  of  service  as
mandated under Article 335 of the Constitution.”

In the conclusion portions, in paragraphs 123  and 124, it  has  been  ruled
thus: –

“123. However, in this case, as stated  above,  the  main  issue
concerns the “extent of reservation”. In this regard the   State
concerned 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. As stated above, the  impugned
provision is an enabling provision. The State is  not  bound  to
make reservation for SCs/STs in matter of  promotions.  However,
if  they  wish  to  exercise  their  discretion  and  make  such
provision, the State has to collect  quantifiable  data  showing
backwardness of the class and inadequacy  of  representation  of
that class in public employment in addition to  compliance  with
Article 335. It is  made  clear  that  even  if  the  State  has
compelling reasons, as stated above, the State will have to  see
that its reservation provision does not lead to excessiveness so
as to breach the ceiling-limit of 50% or obliterate  the  creamy
layer or extend the reservation indefinitely.

124.   Subject  to  the  above,  we  uphold  the  constitutional
validity of the Constitution  (Seventy-Seventh  Amendment)  Act,
1995; the Constitution (Eighty-First Amendment) Act,  2000;  the
Constitution  (Eighty-Second  Amendment)  Act,  2000   and   the
Constitution (Eighty-Fifth Amendment) Act, 2001.”

38.   From  the  aforesaid  decision  and  the  paragraphs  we  have  quoted
hereinabove, the following principles can be carved out: –

i) Vesting of the power by an enabling provision may be  constitutionally
valid and yet ‘exercise of power’ by the State in a given case may  be
arbitrary, particularly, if the State fails to  identify  and  measure
backwardness and inadequacy keeping in mind the efficiency of  service
as required under Article 335.

ii) Article 16(4) which protects the interests of certain sections of  the
society has to be balanced against Article 16(1)  which  protects  the
interests of every citizen of the  entire  society.   They  should  be
harmonized because they are restatements of the principle of  equality
under Article 14.

iii) Each post gets marked for the particular category of candidates to  be
appointed against it and any subsequent vacancy has to  be  filled  by
that category candidate.

iv) The appropriate Government has to apply the cadre strength as  a  unit
in the operation of the roster in order to ascertain whether  a  given
class/group is adequately  represented  in  the  service.   The  cadre
strength as a unit also ensures that the upper ceiling-limit of 50% is
not violated.  Further roster has to be post-specific and not  vacancy
based.

v) The State has to form its opinion on the quantifiable  data  regarding
adequacy of representation.  Clause (4A) of Article 16 is an  enabling
provision.  It gives freedom to the State to provide  for  reservation
in matters of promotion.  Clause (4A) of Article 16  applies  only  to
SCs and STs.  The  said  clause  is  carved  out  of  Article  16(4A).
Therefore, Clause (4A) will be governed by the two compelling  reasons
– “backwardness” and “inadequacy of representation”, as  mentioned  in
Article 16(4).  If the  said  two  reasons  do  not  exist,  then  the
enabling provision cannot be enforced.

vi) If the ceiling-limit  on  the  carry-over  of  unfilled  vacancies  is
removed, the other alternative time-factor comes in and in that event,
the time-scale has to be imposed in  the  interest  of  efficiency  in
administration as mandated by Article 335.  If the time-scale  is  not
kept, then posts will continue to remain vacant for years which  would
be detrimental to the administration.  Therefore, in  each  case,  the
appropriate  Government  will  now  have  to  introduce  the  duration
depending upon the fact-situation.

vii) If the appropriate Government enacts a law providing  for  reservation
without  keeping in mind the parameters in Article 16(4)  and  Article
335, then this Court will certainly set aside  and  strike  down  such
legislation.

viii) The constitutional limitation under Article 335  is  relaxed  and  not
obliterated.  As  stated  above,  be  it  reservation  or  evaluation,
excessiveness  in  either   would   result   in   violation   of   the
constitutional mandate.  This exercise, however, will  depend  on  the
facts of each case.

ix)  The  concepts  of  efficiency,   backwardness   and   inadequacy   of
representation are required  to  be  identified  and  measured.   That
exercise depends on the availability of data.  That  exercise  depends
on numerous  factors.   It  is  for  this  reason  that  the  enabling
provisions are required to be made because each competing claim  seeks
to  achieve  certain  goals.   How  best  one  should  optimize  these
conflicting claims can only be  done  by  the  administration  in  the
context of local prevailing conditions in public employment.

x) Article 16(4), therefore, creates a field which  enables  a  State  to
provide for reservation provided there exists backwardness of a  class
and inadequacy of representation in employment.  These are  compelling
reasons.  They do not exist in Article 16(1).  It is only  when  these
reasons are satisfied that a State  gets  the  power  to  provide  for
reservation in the matter of employment.

39.  At this stage, we think it appropriate to refer to the case  of  Suraj
Bhan Meena and another (supra).  In the said case,  while  interpreting  the
case in M. Nagaraj (supra), the two-Judge Bench has observed: –

“10.   In M.  Nagaraj  case,  this  Court  while  upholding  the
constitutional validity of the Constitution (77thAmendment) Act,
1995 and the Constitution (85th Amendment) Act, 2001,  clarified
the position that it  would  not  be  necessary  for  the  State
Government to frame rules in respect of reservation in promotion
with consequential seniority, but in case the  State  Government
wanted to frame such rules in this regard, then it would have to
satisfy  itself   by   quantifiable   data,   that   there   was
backwardness, inadequacy of representation in public  employment
and overall  administrative  inefficiency  and  unless  such  an
exercise was  undertaken  by  the  State  Government,  the  rule
relating  to  reservation  in   promotion   with   consequential
seniority could not be introduced.”

40.   In the  said  case,  the  State  Government  had  not  undertaken  any
exercise as indicated in M. Nagaraj (supra).  The two-Judge Bench has  noted
three conditions in the said judgment.  It was canvassed  before  the  Bench
that exercise to be undertaken as per the  direction  in  M.Nagaraj  (supra)
was  mandatory  and   the  State  cannot,  either  directly  or  indirectly,
circumvent or ignore or refuse to undertake the exercise by taking  recourse
to the Constitution (Eighty-Fifth Amendment) Act providing  for  reservation
for  promotion  with  consequential  seniority.   While  dealing  with   the
contentions, the two-Judge Bench opined that the State is required to  place
before the Court the  requisite  quantifiable  data  in  each  case  and  to
satisfy the court that the said reservation became necessary on  account  of
inadequacy of  representation  of  Scheduled  Castes  and  Scheduled  Tribes
candidates in a particular class or classes of posts, without affecting  the
general efficiency of service.  Eventually, the Bench opined as follows: –

“66.  The position after the decision in M. Nagaraj case is that
reservation of posts in promotion is dependent on the inadequacy
of  representation  of  members  of  the  Scheduled  Castes  and
Scheduled  Tribes  and  Backward  Classes  and  subject  to  the
condition of ascertaining as to whether such reservation was  at
all required.

67.   The view of the High Court is based on the decision  in M.
Nagaraj  case   as  no  exercise  was  undertaken  in  terms  of
Article 16(4-A) to  acquire  quantifiable  data  regarding   the
inadequacy of representation of the Schedule Caste and Scheduled
Tribe communities in public services. The Rajasthan  High  Court
has rightly  quashed  the  notifications  dated  28.12.2002  and
25.4.2008  issued  by  the  State  of  Rajasthan  providing  for
consequential seniority and promotion  to  the  members  of  the
Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe  communities  and  the  same
does not call for any interference.”

After so stating, the two-Judge Bench affirmed the view taken  by  the  High
Court of Rajasthan.

41.   As has been indicated hereinbefore, it has been vehemently  argued  by
the learned senior counsel for the State and the learned senior counsel  for
the Corporation that once the principle of reservation was  made  applicable
to the spectrum of promotion, no fresh exercise is necessary.   It  is  also
urged that the efficiency in service is  not  jeopardized.    Reference  has
been made to the Social Justice Committee Report and  the  chart.   We  need
not produce the same as the said exercise was done regard being had  to  the
population and vacancies and not to the concepts that have been  evolved  in
M. Nagaraj (supra).  It is one thing  to  think  that  there  are  statutory
rules or  executive  instructions  to  grant  promotion  but  it  cannot  be
forgotten that they were all subject to the pronouncement by this  Court  in
Vir Pal Singh Chauhan (supra) and Ajit Singh (II) (supra).  We  are  of  the
firm view that a fresh  exercise  in  the  light  of  the  judgment  of  the
Constitution Bench in M. Nagaraj (supra) is a categorical  imperative.   The
stand that the constitutional amendments have  facilitated  the  reservation
in promotion with consequential  seniority  and  have  given  the  stamp  of
approval to the Act and the Rules cannot withstand close  scrutiny  inasmuch
as the Constitution Bench  has  clearly  opined  that  Articles  16(4A)  and
16(4B) are enabling provisions and the State can  make  provisions  for  the
same on certain basis or foundation.   The  conditions  precedent  have  not
been satisfied.  No exercise has been  undertaken.   What  has  been  argued
with vehemence is that it is not necessary as the concept of reservation  in
promotion  was  already  in  vogue.   We  are  unable  to  accept  the  said
submission, for when the provisions of the Constitution  are  treated  valid
with certain conditions or riders, it becomes incumbent on the part  of  the
State to appreciate and apply the test so that its amendments can be  tested
and withstand the scrutiny on parameters laid down therein.

42.   In the ultimate analysis, we conclude and hold that  Section  3(7)  of
the 1994 Act and Rule 8A of the 2007 Rules  are  ultra  vires  as  they  run
counter to the dictum in M. Nagaraj (supra).  Any promotion  that  has  been
given on the dictum  of  Indra  Sawhney  (supra)  and  without  the  aid  or
assistance of Section 3(7) and Rule 8A shall remain undisturbed.

43.   The appeals arising out of the final judgment  of  Division  Bench  at
Allahabad are allowed and the impugned order  is  set  aside.   The  appeals
arising out of the judgment from the Division Bench at Lucknow  is  affirmed
subject  to  the  modification  as  stated  hereinabove.   In  view  of  the
aforesaid, all other appeals are disposed of.  The parties shall bear  their
respective costs.

………………………………………………J.
[Dalveer Bhandari]

………………………………………………J.
[Dipak Misra]

New Delhi;

April 27, 2012

———————–
[1]    (2006) 8 SCC 212 : AIR 2007 SC 71
[2]    1992 Supp. (3) SCC 217 : AIR 1993 SC 477
[3]    AIR 1965 SC 1767
[4]    AIR 1991 SC 1893
[5]    AIR 1962 SC 36
[6]    (1970) 3 SCC 567
[7]    (1981) 1 SCC 246
[8]    (1986) 2 SCC 679
[9]    (1995) 6 SCC 684
[10]   (1995) 2 SCC 745
[11]   (1996) 2 SCC 715
[12]   AIR 1997 SC 2366
[13]   (1999) 7 SCC 209
[14]   (2009) 8 SCC 220
[15]    (2008) 6 SCC 1
[16]   (2005) 1 SCC 394
[17]   (2011) 1 SCC 467
[18]   (1970) 3 SCC 567
[19]   2010 4 SCC 50
[20]   (2008) 6 SCC 1

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  1. […] judge bench of Dalveer Bhandari and D. Misra upheld the earlier order of the Allahabad High Court (Rajesh Kumar Vs UP Power Corporation 2012).  It is important to note the scope of the […]


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