Reservation in Promotion: Madhya Pradesh government’s stand comes under attack
In spite of government efforts, atrocities towards the SC and ST communities are taking place in the State.
There is important place for Varna system in the Indian society.
In the interest of equal opportunities for all sections of society and inclusive development, there seems a greater need for continuation of reservation in promotion in favour of SC and ST communities till they reach a stage of social, economic and educational parity with other sections of society.
— Madhya Pradesh Government’s rejoinder in Supreme Court
SAPAKS, the association of Madhya Pradesh Government employees and officers belonging to the general category, OBCs and minorities, has taken serious objection to a statement by Purushaindra Kaurav, the Additional Advocate General of Madhya Pradesh, who has stated that the State Government would be urging the Supreme Court, when the “Reservation in Promotion” case comes up before the apex court for hearing on January 24, to vacate the stay on the Madhya Pradesh Lok Seva (Padonnati) Adhiniyam 2002 [Madhya Pradesh Public Service (Promotion) Act 2002] which has been declared as null and void by the Jabalpur High Court on April 30 last year. and allow the Government to promote officers under this rule during the hearing of the present case.
Reacting sharply to Kaurav’s remarks published by a section of the print media, Rajeev Khare, the State Secretary of SAPAKS, told Newsroom24x7 that the Additional Advocate General’s statement that the State Government wants restoration of the system for promoting employees on the basis of rules that have been quashed and declared non est by the High Court is obviously aimed at spreading confusion among the people and more particularly those concerned. Restoring status quo ante is not possible at this stage as the apex court is in the process of adjucating the matter, he pointed out.
In the meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh Government has taken, what could be described as a much cliched stand by treating the Varna system, which is now extinct, as a prevailing social order and pointing out (in the present continuous sense) that “there is important place for Varna system in the Indian society”.
This has been underscored by the State Government in a rejoinder to a counter-affidavit in the matter of State of Madhya Pradesh versus the respondents in the civil appeal filed by the State Government against the Jabalpur High Court order quashing the 2002 provision for Reservation in promotion that was introduced by the then Congress government in Madhya Pradesh headed by Digvijay Singh.
The Madhya Pradesh Government, through its rejoinder in the Supreme Court fails to recognise that the Varna system, which was based on economic activities that entire communities were restricted to or were occupied in, is now extinct. In India today we do not have the typically hierarchical caste system as we have seen it through history, but the society is bracketed among communities that still choose to range themselves along caste lines. But at the same time, we should not lose track of the fact that the larger Indian society is no longer divided on the basis of “karma” or occupation. The caste system in the modern Indian context is restricted to marriages that mostly take place within the same caste or community. This social norm notwithstanding, inter-caste marriages are no longer taboo for those who are enlightened and emancipated.
Pressing for continuing reservation in promotion, the State Government has said in its rejoinder that in the interest of equal opportunities for all sections of society and inclusive development, there seems a greater need for continuation of reservation in promotion in favour of SC and ST communities till they reach a stage of social, economic and educational parity with other sections of society.
Referring to the Judgement in Nagraj Case (2006), the Madhya Pradesh Government has stated that none of the petitioners had challenged the backwardness of the SCs and STs within the meaning of Clause 16(4) of Article 16 of Constitution. Similarly this was not done in the Indra Sawhney case thereby establishing they were “undisputably backward”. As far as SCs and STs are concerned in terms of Article 341 and 342, backward relates to castes and not persons, the State Government has underscored emphasising that even the Supreme Court has said in the Indra Sawhney case that there should be no question of proving their social backwardness again and again.
To drive home the point that the SCs and STs are still backward, 70 years after Independence and 67 years after India became Republic, the Madhya Pradesh Government’s rejoinder reiterates discrimination on the basis of the caste is very common and evident in the Indian society since the time immemorial. Untouchability was one of the serious concerns and problem in the Indian society because of which the people belonging to the backward castes i.e. SC/ST category group did not get the social, economic, political and educational rights till today.
The Government has admitted that in spite of government efforts, atrocities towards the SC and ST communities are taking place in the State.