In a major decision, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the validity of Karnataka's 2018 reservation law which granted reservation in promotion to employees belonging to SC and ST categories. The bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud upheld that applications filed by a group of general category employees for applying 'post-based quota' and the principle of the creamy layer at entry-level in public employment are not maintainable. The top court had in November last year reserved its order on the application filed by the general category of candidates.
Back in 2002, the Karnataka government had enacted a very similar law pertaining to reservations for SC/STs however, it had faced a challenge to its constitutional validity in 2006. Although the court had upheld its validity in 2006, it was challenged in again 2011 and 2017.
In 2017, the Supreme Court held that the Karnataka Government needed to put forward the necessity of such an exercise of power including compelling material to prove the inadequacy of representation of SC and STs in government jobs. Soon after the Karnataka government had appointed a committee for studying the backwardness and lack of representation of SC/ST employees. Based on the recommendations of this committee, the state government moved the Reservation Bill, which later went on to become an Act in 2018.
Back in May last year, the apex court had upheld the law allowing reservations in promotions for SC and ST candidates with consequential seniority. However, the petitioners filed an instant application, days after seeking a review of the May 10 judgement. They also sought a restraint order against the state government on implementing the law on reservation.