Mukesh Kumar & Anr. V. State of Uttarakhand [2020 SCC Online SC 148]

The court determined that Articles 16 (4) and 16 (4A) are merely enabling provisions and that the right to promotion is subject to the judgement of the State Government. The State Government is not required to create reservations, and the courts have no power to persuade it to do so. 

Bench –  L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta.

Facts – On September 5, 2012, the Uttarakhand government made a judgement that all positions in public services in the state would be made without any reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in promotions for positions of Assistant Engineer in the PWD, Government of Uttarakhand.

The state government’s ruling was overturned by a case brought in the High Court. However, on evaluation, the Court recognised faults in its judgement and altered that the State was required by law to collect quantifiable data regarding inadequacy of recognition of SCs and STs in public services and guided the state government to make a decision based on data.

The Supreme Court considered a group of petitions with much the same topic and concluded to dismiss them all.

Issues – 

  • Whether it is under obligation towards the State Government to provide reservations to STs and SCs or not? 
  • Whether the obligation of the State Government for provision of reservations to SCs and STs to that of promotion or not?
  • Whether the right to claim reservation comes under the category of fundamental right or not?
  • Whether the judgement of the State Government regarding non-provision of reservation can be based solely on quantifiable data regarding adequacy of representation or not? 

Judgment – It was ruled by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that the State Government Authorities are not required to create a reservation for promotion to public appointments or positions for individuals belonging to the SC or ST. Reservation in promotions does not come under the category of fundamental rights which can be asserted and hence no writ of mandamus can be provided for this purpose. The court held that there is no existence of a fundamental right that an individual could move forward to claim reservation in promotions and the Constitution.

Articles 16 (4) and 16(4-A) are enabling provisions, granting the State Government the leeway to take into account giving reservations if the situation warrants it.

The data which is gathered by the government authorities is used only for the justification of providing reservation to those groups of people. The State government is not considered under an obligation for provision of reservations in promotions and it cannot be considered required so as to justify the decision with a quantifiable data demonstrating the adequacy of representation of SCs and STs for the position of State Government services.

The court by this decision overturned the High Court’s directive regarding all future vacancies for the positions of Assistant Engineer shall be occupied only by SCs and STs, by stating that the judgement was entirely unjustified and against the provisions of the Constitution.

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