No SC/ST Quota for reservation for promotion in Public Sector Banks: Supreme Court

Advanced 467 Reasoning Puzzles Book SBI PO 2018
Exactly a year after holding that officers belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes can claim reservation in promotion from level 1 to level VI grade, the Supreme Court on Friday admitted that it had committed a mistake while passing the verdict and clarified that there can be no reservation in promotion.

The apex court had on January 9 last year held that though there was no provision for reservation in promotions in banks for officers from scale-I onwards but relying on an office memorandum issued by department of public enterprises in November 2004 ruled that officers belonging to SC/ST category be given reservation in promotion.

It is clarified that at present there is no provision for reservation in promotion by selection only in respect of those posts which carry an ultimate salary of 5,700/- per month (revised to 18,300 and 20,800/- per month) ... that would be in respect of Scale-VII and above. Therefore, to carry out promotions from Scale-I upwards up to Scale-VI, reservation in promotion in favour of SC/ST employees has to be given," the court had said in its last year verdict.

Admitting the error committed by it for relying on the memorandum while extending the benefit of reservation to SC/ST officers, a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and A K Sikri accepted the Centre's contention that the memorandum did not provide for any reservation, but only gives certain concessions to the employees belonging to SC/ST categories while considering their cases for promotion.

"Once we find an error apparent on the face of the record and to correct the said error, we have to necessarily allow these review petitions," the bench said while allowing the Centre's plea.

"We would be candid in our remarks that once an error is found in the order/judgment, which is apparent on the face of record and meets the test of review jurisdiction ... there is no reason to feel hesitant in accepting such a mistake and rectify the same. In fact, the reason for such a frank admission is to ensure that this mind of patent error from the record is removed which led to a wrong conclusion and consequently wrong is also remedied," the bench said.

The court, however, said if the government can bring law to grant reservation in promotion to SC/ST officers in PSU banks after the banks' union pleaded for reservation on the ground that there was no adequate representation of SC/ST category of officers in Group-IV and above. The court quashed the Madras HC order which had directed the government to grant reservation in promotion.

"While doing so, we reiterate that it is for the State to take stock of the ground realities and take a decision as to whether it is necessary to make a provision for reservation in promotions from Scale I to Scale II and upward, and if so, up to which post," the bench said.