Reservation in promotion case: Madhya Pradesh Government, battery of lawyers and the unreserved category
SAPAKS, which stands for “samanya Pichda Alpsankhyak Adhikari Karmchari Sanstha” (society formed by government employees belonging to the general category, backwards and minorities) is fighting this battle from the front and is playing a monumental role in keeping the suffering employees united for the common cause and also in mobilising resources to fight the reservation in promotion case in the apex court.
Madhya Pradesh Government and Madhya Pradesh Anusuchit Jati/Janjati Adhikari Karmchari Sangh (AJJAKS) are on the same side and have gone to the Supreme Court as petitioners challenging the April 30, 2016 order of the Jabalpur High Court quashing the Madhya Pradesh provision for Reservation in Promotion for the SC and ST (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) employees.
The matter is listed for hearing in the Supreme Court of India on February 28.
The High Court order had come as a relief to majority of Madhya Pradesh Government employees and officers falling under the unreserved category who have stagnated on the same post for long years and have been denied promotion on the basis of seniority and merit due to the 2002 reservation in promotion rule for SCs and STs.
Immediately after the Madhya Pradesh Government had challenged the High Court order in Supreme Court, State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, while addressing an AJJAKS meeting, had told the SC/ST officers and employees that they were free to choose the best of lawyers and the state government would pay their fees.
A couple of advocates who have appeared on behalf of individual petitioners in cases linked with the case (no 5247/2016) in Supreme Court -the case arising due to the appeal by the Madhya Pradesh Government – have also been appointed by the State Government to appear on its behalf. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, who has earlier appeared in this case for AJJAKS, was appointed by the State Government on January 30, 2017 to appear on its behalf in this matter.
Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi was appointed by the Madhya Pradesh Government to appear in this case in Supreme Court on May 10, 2016 and was paid a fees of Rs. 1.1 million on May 27, 2016.
Rohatgi appeared in Supreme Court when the Civil appeal by the State Government against the High Court order came up for mentioning on May 10, 2016. Admitting the petition, the Apex Court had granted leave and ordered that the status quo, as on that date, shall be maintained and the matter was listed for hearing in the third week of September.
In between, the counsel for Madhya Pradesh Government came up with an application for permission to file SLP and interim relief and office report. These petitions were called for hearing on August 30, 2016. The supreme Court bench comprising Justice Mr J. Chelameswar and Justice Mr. Abhay Manohar Sapre passed an order rejecting the SLPs on the ground that there was no reason to entertain these SLPs as already an SLP challenging the impugned order of the High Court was pending in the Supreme Court. However considering the nature of the question of law including issues of constitutional significance involved the Court asked the counsel for the petitioner to assist the Court at the time of hearing.
During the next hearing on September 16, 2016, an interim application was filed before the Court. In response, it directed that a copy be served on the appearing parties with proof within two weeks. The respondents too were asked to reply within the same deadline. The matter was then ordered to be listed after two weeks.
On September 26, 2016, the Court ordered the listing of this case on November 8 on top of the Board subject to part heard matter.
The matter was again called for hearing on October 3, 2016. and when the counsel appearing on behalf of a respondent submitted that he had served counter affidavit in response to the Interim application on the parties, specific interim applications were ordered to be listed after 4 weeks. The Court also gave the last opportunity of two weeks to the petitioners’ counsel to file a rejoinder affidavit and the matter was ordered to be listed on November 23, 2016.
On November 8, the next date of hearing, the Court ordered that the matter be listed for hearing on December 14.
On December 2, 2016, Indira Jaising was present in Court to represent Madhya Pradesh Anusuchit Jati/Janjati Adhikari Karmchari Sangh (AJJAKS); V Shekhar was there to represent the State of Madhya Pradesh and others; S.R. Hegde with Manoj Gorkela was there in connection with separate civil appeals by State of Madhya Pradesh and others. K.K. Venugopal was there representing individual petitioners in a case connected with the present case.
That day, senior Advocate Harish Salve was representing another set of appeals connected to this case by State of Madhya Pradesh and others.
Manoj Gorkela was also there to represent the State government which was petitioner through a couple of more petitions.
During the proceeding of this case senior counsel Indira Jaising sought leave of the Court to implead AJJAKS – one of the petitioners.
On December 14, when the case came up for hearing by a two Judge Bench comprising of Justice Mr. J Chelameswar and Justice Mr. Prafulla C. Pant, representing the appellants were Senior advocates S.R. Hegde, V. Shekhar, and advocate Manoj Gorkela.
On December 15, 2016, senior advocates S.R. Hegde, Indira Jaising and advocate Manoj Gorkela were representing separate appeals. While SR. Hegde and Manoj Gorkela appeared on behalf of the State Government, Indira Jaising was representing Madhya Pradesh Anusuchit Jati/Janjati Adhikari Karmchari Sangh (AJJAKS). On this day, the matter was ordered to be listed on January 24.
Harish Salve was appointed by the Madhya Pradesh Government in this case on September 30, 2016 and was paid Rs. 1 million on January 11, 2017
Along with Salve, Gopal Subramanium was also appointed on September 30, 2016 by MP Government for this case and was paid Rs. 9,70,000 on January 13, 2017.
Sanjay R. Hegde was similarly appointed in this case by the State Government on November 22, 2016 and was paid Rs2.2 million on January 11, 2017.
Indira Jaising was appointed on January 30, 2017 and was paid Rs. 7,55,000 the same day. Another advocate, V. Shekhar was also appointed and paid Rs. 2,75,000 the same day.
In a written reply to the state Assembly, the Madhya Pradesh Government, while giving these details has also given a list of 9 more advocates who have been appointed by the government for this case but there is no mention about the fees paid to them. The question doing the rounds in concerned circles is whether these lawyers are doing charity or they have given their consent for deferred payment. Of these nine advocates eight were appointed along with Indira Jaising, who was simultaneously appearing for AJJAKS in this case and V. Shekhar on January 30, 2017. While
A Sundaram, S.S. Suri, K.K. Venugopal, Subramanian Prasad, Dinesh Gupta, Manoj Gorkela, Additional Advocate General of Madhya Pradesh, Purushendra Kaurav and Standing Counsel Saurabh Mishra were appointed on January 30, Tushar Mehta, the Additional Solicitor General of India, was appointed on February 17.
SAPAKS Samaj is opposed to reservation on the basis of caste but supports the idea of reservation on economic grounds. SAPAKS Samaj is totally against reservation in promotion and wants that the concept of creamy layer should be applied uniformly across the board. It also wants that there should be a review of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 because it is being misused by unscrupulous persons.
Pitted against the Madhya Pradesh Government and the SC/ST officers, who are being supported to the hilt by the government in this case, are the officers and employees from the unreserved category who constitute about 65 per cent of the State government workforce. SAPAKS, which stands for “samanya Pichda Alpsankhyak Adhikari Karmchari Sanstha” (society formed by government employees belonging to the general category, backwards and minorities) is fighting this battle from the front and is playing a monumental role in keeping the suffering employees united for the common cause and also in mobilising resources to fight the case in the apex court. There is also the SAPAKS Samaj (society formed by few leading members of society to build public opinion and the agenda to rationalise reservation. SAPAKS Samaj is opposed to reservation on the basis of caste but supports the idea of reservation on economic grounds. SAPAKS Samaj is totally against reservation in promotion and wants that the concept of creamy layer should be applied uniformly across the board. It also wants that there should be a review of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 because it is being misused by unscrupulous persons.