SC Rules Seven-Judge Bench To Be Set Up To Re-Examine Its 2006 Verdict On Promotion Of SC/ST


New Delhi:The Supreme Court ruled that a seven-judge bench would be set up to re-examine its 2006 verdict and declined to pass an interim order on the issue of reservations in promotions for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) employees in government jobs.

The matter affects hundreds of thousands of people employed by the Railways and other services and the Centre contended that promotions were stuck due to confusion over the issue.

Attorney general KK Venugopal pointed out to a bench headed by Chief Justice of India DipakMisra that the top court’s 2006 verdict in the M Nagaraj case that held reservations in promotion can be allowed if only there is quantifiable data to back it, was referred to a larger bench and asked for an early hearing.

The bench said it will take up the matter next month and set an August 3 date for hearing.“A seven-judge bench needs to be constituted. Since a Constitution bench is already seized of various matters, the issue can only be taken up in the first week of August,” the CJI said.

The Supreme Court had in November 2017 said that a Constitution bench would see if the Nagaraj case required re-examination. The Nagarajjudgement had said the concept of “creamy layer” cannot be applied while giving reservations to members of the SC/ST communities as is done in the case of OBCs (other backward classes).

It also prescribed certain preconditions for extending the benefit of reservation in promotions to SC/ST employees.‘Creamy layer’ is term used to describe better-off individuals among OBCs who are ineligible for reservations as per the Mandal Commission provisions.

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