"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Friday, November 21, 2008

SC Judgments

Another way to defeat the object of reservation
State of Karnataka & Ors. v. K. Govindappa & Anr. (S L P (C) No. 231 of 2007). Date of Judgment 20-11-08
Supreme Court today decided whether the post of a Lecturer in a particular descipline will be treated as a single isolated post forming a seperate cadre in itself or is part of the cadre of lecturers. The court held that a single post in a particular subject, here history, cannot be reserved under the roster policy as it will be treated as 100% reservation. By rejecting the argument that a single post of lecturer in one subject should be treated as against the cadre of the posts of lecturers, the SC have sliced down the reservations and institutions can now dodge the reservation policy by advertising series of single posts.
The issue in the case was the treatment of a single post of a lecturer for reservation. The roster policy requires certain number of posts to be reserved in each cadre. The final question then is how will you treat a single vacancy in a particular subject tought in the institution. Will you treat it as a single post of a History Lecturer (here, history lecturers as a cadre in itself) or as a post of history lecturer as a part of the cadre of lecturers of different faculties in an institution.
The court is of the view is that [i]n order to apply the rule of reservation within a cadre, there has to be plurality of posts. Since there is no scope of inter- changeability of posts in the different disciplines, each single post in a particular discipline has to be treated as a single post for the purpose of reservation within the meaning of Article 16 (4) of the Constitution. In the absence of duality of posts, if the rule of reservation is to be applied, it will offend the constitutional bar against 100% reservation as envisaged in Article 16(1) of the Constitution.
In effect a reserved category candidate have to wait till multiple posts of history lecturers are called for to avail the benefit of reservation. May be this is the way court is trying to make a dent into the reservation policies of states who visibly defy the court's dictum and take the reservation beyond the magical 50%, with impunity, if I may add.

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