Karnataka quota law for promotions is ultra vires Articles 14, 16: SC

It observed that exercise for determining �inadequacy of representation�, �backwardness� and �overall efficiency� is a must for exercise of power under Article 16(4A)

Karnataka quota law for promotions is ultra vires Articles 14, 16: SC

Maintaining that the State does not have unbridled powers to provide promotion in reservation to the backward classes, the Supreme Court on Thursday held that an exercise to determine inadequacy of representation, backwardness and overall efficiency is “a must” before granting promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes employees.

It declared that the provisions of the Karnataka Determination of Seniority of the Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (To the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Act, to the extent of doing away with the ‘catch up’ rule and providing for consequential seniority to persons belonging to SCs and STs on promotion against roster points, were ultra vires Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.


The Act envisages grant of consequential seniority to the government servants belonging to Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes promoted under reservation policy. The petitioners had urged before the high court that, due to this policy, SC/ST candidates got promotion early and on account of consequential seniority, percentage of SC/ST candidates was much higher than the permitted percentage and all top positions were likely to be filled up by SC/ST candidates without general merit candidates getting to higher positions, LiveLaw reported. But the high court held the Act valid.

On appeal, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice AK Goel and UU Lalit observed that exercise for determining ‘inadequacy of representation’, ‘backwardness’ and ‘overall efficiency’ is a must for exercise of power under Article 16(4A).