Karnataka law on Sc/St Promotion Quota upheld

Prelims level : Polity and Governance Mains level :
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  • The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of a 2018 Karnataka law, granting reservation in promotion and consequential seniority to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe employees in the state.


  • The Karnataka law grants reservation to non-IAS cadre government employees who belong to SC/ST The issue dates back to 2002 when the Karnataka government had enacted a similar law that was later upheld by a constitutional bench in 2006.
  • However, it was challenged in 2011 and in 2017 the apex court had said it was necessary for the government to provide material that there was “compelling necessity” for exercise of such powers that eventually resulted in 3,799 SC/ST employees, promoted earlier, to be The state government had constituted a committee under then chief secretary K.Ratna Prabha to study the backwardness of these communities. The Karnataka government took the ordinance route in August 2017 to circumvent an apex order in February earlier that year that struck down reservations on promotions to SCs/STs by the Karnataka government and had also set a deadline of three months to reverse the promotions.


  • In the Indira Sawhney case, the Supreme Court held that the “test or requirement of social and educational backwardness cannot be applied to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, who indubitably fall within the expression ‘backward class of citizens
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