New Delhi, Aug 3: The Centre has told the Supreme Court that reservation was given to the SC/ST community to right a wrong they suffered for more than 1,000 years. Atrocities on them continue, even today, Attorney General, K K Venugopal representing the Centre said.
He said that the SC's 2006 judgment in the Nagraj case virtually stopping reservation in promotion for SC/ST employees requires re-consideration. Once an ST/ST, the backwardness is presumed and there was no need to find quantifiable data to find out whether backwardness continued with the SC/ST employees, he also said.
A five judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra asked the Centre to prove why the Nagraj ruling asking states to get quantifiable data first to prove backwardness before granting reservation in promotion is wrong.
The Centre said that in promotions too the SC/ST together must account for 23 of every 100 promotions in a year, failing which the affirmative action would remain an illusion.
Justice Misra said that reservation in promotion for SC/ST in government services comes with certain qualifiers under Article 16(4). Government can only give accelerated promotion if there is quantifiable data as per the Nagraj verdict.
The CJI further said that the Nagraj verdict says accelerated promotion to SC/ST persons to be given by state if they are inadequately represented. It is necessary for overall efficiency of administration and it needs to be based on quantifiable data, the CJI also said while quoting the 2006 verdict.
The Centre however opposed the fact that the Nagraj verdict limits the state's power to promote SC/ST government officers by introducing qualifiers like backwardness, inadequate representation and overall administrative efficiency.