Friday, December 11, 2009

[ZESTCaste] HC asks banks to have quota at officer level

HC asks banks to have quota at officer level
TNN 11 December 2009, 04:05am IST

CHENNAI: Recommending representation for SC/ST officers in the higher
echelons of nationalised banks, the Madras High Court has directed at
least five nationalised banks to follow the rule of reservation for
promotion of SC/ST candidates to officer ranks. A division bench
comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice CT Selvam, citing a
central government memo dated August 13, 1997, said: "When the
Constitution has given an extra protection to the underprivileged
communities so as to ensure equal opportunities as guaranteed by the
Constitution, the banks are not justified in sleeping over the matter
of providing reservations in promotions for a decade with no good
reason to offer."

The petitions and appeals were filed by the SC/ST employees
associations of various nationalised banks, seeking a direction to the
banks to provide reservation in promotions to officers from scale I to
scale VII as per the instructions issued by the Centre.

The banks, however, said promotion to officer grade is on the basis of
merit-cum-seniority, to which reservation policy cannot be made
applicable. They claimed that reservation is applicable only in the
first instance where promotion is from the clerical grade to the
lowest rank in the officer grade. The rule of reservation will not
apply even to the next scale of middle management level in scale II
position, they said. They also argued that the efficiency of
administration of banks would suffer if the reservation policy is

Rejecting the arguments, Justice Dharma Rao, writing the judgment for
the bench, said: "We are unable to understand such a sweeping and
generalised argument advanced on the part of the banks, as if all the
employees belonging to these underprivileged classes are inefficient
and not suitable for promotion. When the Union of India has directed
the banks to follow the rule of reservation in promotions in all
cadres, as early as in the year 1997, there is no impediment for the
banks to implement the same. However, for no better reason to be
appreciated, the banks are adamant in not implementing the office

Citing the bleak picture of only a very few SC/ST officers occupying
high positions, the bench said, "this defeats the very purpose of
reservation enshrined in the Constitution. We must remember that even
the SC/ST candidates, who are now serving in officer cadres, have been
promoted only by virtue of their long service and merit and not by
availing themselves of the rule of reservation in promotions, as has
been provided for under Article 16(4A) of the Constitution."

It then directed the banks to implement the rule of reservation for
promotions to all cadres in the banking sector, within eight weeks.

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