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Supreme Court upholds quota for bank workers during promotions

Ravi Jadhav
In a significant judgment, the supreme court has ruled that SC and ST employees in public sector banks are entitled to reservation in the promotion of officer grade and directed banks to provide quota for these employees in the Promotion from Management Grade Scale-I (Scale-I) upto Scale VI officers. What happens if there aren’t SC/ST applicants?While disposing of a batch of petitions on the issue, the court, however, clarified that promotion in the officers cadre cannot be given on the ground of non-adequate representation of SC/ST employees. What dis Central Bank want?The court rejected the Central Bank of India ‘s argument that there is no rule of reservation for promotion in the Class A (Class-I) to the posts having basic salary of more than Rs 5,700 and their promotion should be based on the standard of performance.According the bank, the rule of reservation is followed for promotions from clerical grade to the lowest rank in the officer Grade (scale-I) but for above scale only a concession for promotion is provided for officers belonging to SC/ST category,but there is no mandatory provision of reservation. What prompted SC ruling?A bench of justices Chelamenswar and AK Sikri has allowed the pleas of SC and ST bank employees while relying on an office memorandum of the Department of Public Enterprises issued on November 8, 2004 under which, the salary limit has been revised from Rs 5,700 to Rs 18,300 as per the 5th Central Pay Commission and in the case of Public Sector Undertakings like banks the limit is fixed at Rs 20,800.”…..The said pay ceiling is achieved in the appellant Banks only when an officer reaches Scale-VII. As a result, the policy of no reservation in the matter of promotion is applicable only from Scale-VII and above. It, therefore, clearly follows that insofar as promotion from Scale-I to Scale-II, Scale-II to Scale-III, Scale-III to Scale-IV, Scale-IV to Scale-V, Scale-V to Scale-VI are concerned, reservation is to be provided. The appellant Banks, therefore, cannot take umbrage under the Memorandum (1997) and deny reservation in favour of SC/ST employees while carrying out promotions upto to Scale-VI,” the bench said. What worries banks?The bench rejected the bank’s contention that grant of reservation in promotion from Scale-I level onwards would affect efficiency and the officers belonging to SC/ST have been promoted only on the basis of their own merit/performance.