Reply: Reservation in promotion in public posts cannot be claimed as a fundamental right, the
Honorable Supreme Court reiterated in a judgment recently.
A Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta observed that State Governments
are not bound to make reservations. Even the courts could not issue a Mandamus directing
States to provide reservations.
Citing Constitution Bench precedents that had settled the law, the court said Articles 16 (4) and
16 (4-A) of the Constitution did not confer individuals with a fundamental right to claim
reservations in promotion.
The Articles empower the State to make reservation in matters of appointment and promotion
in favour of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes only “if in the opinion of the State they
are not adequately represented in the services of the State”.
Thus, the State Government has discretion “to consider providing reservations, if the
circumstances so warrant”.
If a State wishes to exercise its discretion and make reservation in promotions, it has to first
collect quantifiable data showing inadequacy of representation of a class or community in
This judgement came in the case of Mukesh Kumar & Anr. Versus The State of Uttarakhand &
In this case the judgment passed by the High Court of Uttarakhand was under appeal.
The High Court had declared illegal the State Government’s Order denying reservation in
The court had further directed the State Government to collect quantifiable data relating to
adequacy or inadequacy of representation of the SCs and STs in public services before deciding
whether or not to provide reservation in promotion.
This is because the High Court was of the view that as per the evidence produced before it, the
order of the Government was not based on any empirical data on the representation.
Thus the State of Uttrakhand made an appeal before the Apex Court against this impugned
judgement of the Uttrakhand High court.
“There is no doubt that the State Government is not bound to make reservations. There is no
fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions. No
Mandamus can be issued by the court directing the State government to provide reservations,” –
The Apex court observed.
“It is settled law that the State Government cannot be directed to provide reservations for
appointment in public posts. Similarly, the State is not bound to make reservation for
Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in matters of promotions,” The Apex Court explained.