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10,000 SC/ST staffers’ fate hangs fire as Karnataka awaits quota nod

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka government is running out of time in protecting SC/ST government employees, who are facing demotion after the Supreme Court fixed January 15, 2018, as the deadline to revise the promotion list of employees across all its 63 departments.

Hearing a batch of petitions for contempt proceedings against top state officers, a Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta on Thursday pulled up the Siddaramaiah-led government for holding up promotions of officers, citing a review petition pending before it.

This is a bolt from the blue for the Congress government, which is trying to delay the inevitable — demotion of SC/ ST employees since 1978 and give general and other backward categories awaiting promotions their due. The fate of about 10,000 employees hangs in the balance after the apex court on February 9 struck down the consequential seniority in promotions awarded by the state government’s SC/ST employees since 1978.

Demotion decision to have political implication

The issue of demoting these employees, who had been promoted under the reservation scheme, is likely to have a huge political implication ahead of the assembly elections.

The Congress government, therefore, is taking great pains to work out a please-all formula to stem the political damage of the apex court’s ultimatum to demonstrate what it has done so far in this regard.

During the winter session in Belagavi, the government had ensured smooth passage of the amendment bill to the Karnataka Determination of Seniority of Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation Act, 2002 which is seen as an escape routetothe February 9 Supreme Court verdict that had struck down reservation in promotions for SC/ST employees.

“We are awaiting the governor’s nod to take it forward,” said a senior law department official. Additional advocate general A S Ponnanna said they are confident the governor will give his consent.

Times of India

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