Quota case: SC stays HC order
TNN | Feb 28, 2012, 04.54AM IST
JAIPUR: The Ashok Gehlot government was saved from an embarrassment on
Monday when the Supreme Court stayed the Rajasthan High Court's last
week order wherein the state's two top bureaucrats were held guilty of
"willful contempt of the court" in the quota in promotions case.
The high court was to award punishment to chief secretary Salauddin
Ahmed and principal secretary (personnel) Khemraj in the afternoon.
However, in the morning, the apex court stayed the high court's
proceedings till March 20. At the same time, the top court also stayed
execution of the notification issued on September 11, 2011 that the
state government had been citing as compliance of the high court order
of February 5, 2010, which led to the contempt proceedings.
After this, the high court also deferred hearing in the matter till
March 26 and directed the state government to submit before it the
apex court's stay order of Monday on oath by then.
The case pertains to the legal dispute on the quota in promotions
constitutionally allowed to state government employees belonging to
the Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST). Even as the
non-reserved categories employees, including those from the Other
Backward Classes (OBC) category, opposed the quota alleging that the
apex court guidelines were not adhered to, in doing so, the state
government reasoned how it has now fulfilled all the legal
requirements in granting the benefit to the SC/ST employees.
A division bench of Justice NK Jain and Justice RS Rathore, however,
rejected the state government's plea that it has abided by the high
court order of February 2010 by gathering the quantifiable data
through the Bhatnagar committee to support the quota for SC/ST
employees and, thereafter, issuing the notification of September 11,
2011. The Samata Andolan Samiti, one Bajrang Lal Sharma and others, on
other hand, moved contempt petition and alleged that the government
attempted to "overreach" the February 2010 judgment by forming the
Bhatnagar committee and issuing the notification that would protect
the "illegally promoted" SC/ST employees. The Samiti reasoned before
the apex court that as compliance of the high court judgment, the
state government ought to have issued revised seniority lists of its
employees from April 1, 1997.
The high court had summoned chief secretary Ahmed and principal
secretary Khemraj at 2 pm on Monday to hear the punishment for
contempt. But, on the basis of a special leave petition moved by the
state government against the high court's contempt order, the Supreme
Court intervened and stayed the proceedings.
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