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Karnataka cabinet ordinance on reservation in promotions moving forward

Bengaluru: The Karnataka Cabinet today decided to bring in an amendment to a legislation pertaining to ‘reservation in promotion’ for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (SC/ST) government employees by promulgating an ordinance.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister TB Jayachandra told reporters that a copy of the ordinance would be sent to Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala tomorrow for assent.

The proposed amendment to the ‘Karnataka Determination of Seniority of Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation Act 2002′ is seen as an escape route to the February 9 Supreme Court verdict that had struck down reservation in promotions for SC/ST employees.

Asked whether there could be any legal hurdle challenging the ordinance, the minister said, “Let us wait and watch.”

Before taking the decision, Mr Jayachandra said the cabinet panel had held detailed discussions on a report submitted by the Additional Chief Secretary Rathna Prabha on the issue.

“Thereafter, the state law department drafted a bill to provide reservation for SC/ST employees,” he added.

Mr Jayachandra said the government had already filed a review petition in the apex court seeking three months’ time for bringing in the amendment.

The court had held that Karnataka must demonstrate backwardness, inadequacy of representation and maintenance of efficiency before providing reservation in promotions, he said.

It had given three months’ time to review the seniority list and another three months to appraise it of the need for consequential reservation for SC/ST employees, Mr Jayachandra said.

The cabinet decision is seen as an attempt by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to preserve the Dalit vote bank in the run up to next year’s assembly elections.