Supreme Court has invalidated the conclusions arrived in M Nagaraj case. It relieved the states from collecting quantifiable data on backwardness for providing reservation in promotions for SCs and STs. It up held the validity of application of creamy layer in reservations in promotions for STs and SCs.M Nagaraj Case: The Supreme Court upheld constitutional amendments for the quota in promotions in government jobs while calling for maintenance of data on the extent of backwardness. However, the state will have to satisfy the test of:

1. Backwardness
2. Inadequate representation
3. Overall efficiency
The court also stated that concept of creamy layer was not to be applied for STs and SCs promotions in government jobs.

Recent Judgment:

The Supreme court clarified that there was no need to revisit its 12-year-old verdict in the M Nagaraj case.

Earlier, it had said that the states were bound to provide quantifiable data on the backwardness of SC/ST, the facts about their inadequate representation in government jobs and the overall administrative efficiency, before providing them quota in promotion.

The court says that the inadequacy of representation of SC/ST needs to be demonstrated and data must be relatable to the concerned cadre.

The court has asked the central government to examine introduction of creamy layer for SCs and STs reason being if some sections bag all the coveted jobs, it will leave the rest of the class backward.

The court also mentioned that efficiency in the administration has to be looked at every time promotions are made.

Arguments against of reservation in promotion:

Employment does not ensure the end of social discrimination. Hence, a single yardstick for calculating backwardness should not be used.

There is a chance that reservation in promotion might lead to inefficient administration.
Articles 16(4), 16(4A) and 16(4B) of the Constitution are only enabling provisions. This can be seen from the debates and statements during the drafting of constitution.
Caste Based Reservation only give a permanent place to caste in societyinstead of weakening it.
The benefits of reservation policy have largely gone to dominant class within the backward castes. The most marginalized within the backward castes have remained marginalized. Arguments in favor of reservation in


The representation of SCs/STs in senior levels is highly skewed against SCs/STs due to prejudices. In 2017, there were only 4 SC/ST officers at the secretary rank in the central government.
Along with the Constitution the Supreme Court has also, time and again, upheld any affirmative action seeks to provide a level playing field to the oppressed classes with the overall objective to achieve equality of opportunity.

Large number of posts was lying vacant as there was no definition of the expression ―backward‖ of which ―quantifiable data‖ was to be collected.

Efficiency in government is sometimes hard to quantify, and the reporting of output by officers is not free from social bias. For example, In Maharashtra a public servant was denied promotion because his „character and integrity were not good‟.

Way Forward:

A comprehensive piece of legislature that would deal with ambiguity related to reservation in promotions is needed. The Act should try to rectify the current issues such as undefined parameters of efficiency, absence
of transparency in evaluating backwardness and efficiency of STs/SCs, presence of ambiguity regarding whole process of promotions in government services