Around 20,000 to 25,000 employees from all 30 districts of Karnataka will come together to demand the President take a decision on the Bill.

SCST Promotions Bill Affected Ktaka govt employees to hold protests on June 15Image for representation only
news Politics Monday, June 04, 2018 - 16:01

The Karnataka State Government SC/ST Employees Coordination Committee has planned to organise a state-level rally in Bengaluru on June 15 in support of its demand for Presidential assent to the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (to the posts in Civil Services of the State) Bill 2017.

According to the State President of the committee, D Shivshankar, since the Bill did not get the Karnataka Governor’s assent, the state was forced to place it before the President.

Around 20,000 to 25,000 employees from all 30 districts of Karnataka will come together at Freedom Park in the state capital to demand that Rashtrapati Bhavan take a decision on the Bill, which, he said, has been pending before the President’s office for about nine months now. The Legislative Assembly unanimously adopted the bill on 17 November, 2017.

The state was compelled to come up with a curative legislation to tide over the Constitutional crisis that erupted when the Supreme Court struck down Karnataka’s provision for providing reservation in the promotion of employees belonging to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes.

The apex court had observed that that there must be a proper exercise to determine “inadequacy of representation, backwardness and overall efficiency” for providing reservations in promotion. The state was also given three months to revise the seniority list of the employees in its different departments, said Shivshankar, who is presently serving as Assistant Director in the Department of Agriculture at Bengaluru.

Following the court’s decision, the Karnataka government set up a committee of experts under the Additional Chief Secretary Ratnaprabha to undertake threadbare issues concerning the reservation while promoting SC/ST employees in the light of the Supreme Court judgment and collate all the relevant data.

Accordingly, the committee submitted its findings in its report acknowledging the prevailing backwardness of SC/STs, inadequacies regarding their representation in the state’s civil services while maintaining that the overall efficiency of administration was not affected on account of promotions on the basis of reservation to SC/ST employees. Subsequently, the government reviewed the report before according its approval and decided to continue with the state government’s policy for providing reservation to SC/STs in promotions, in vogue since 1978, to meet its Constitutional obligations to protect the consequential seniority of the SC/ST employees of the state government provided under the 85th Constitutional Amendment Act.

This provision of the Constitution has been now prevented by the judgment of the apex court, resulting in the unjustified demotions of large number of SC/ST officers, says Rahul S Metri, President of the Belagavi district unit of the Karnataka State Government SC/ST Employees Coordination Committee.

He said the state government promulgated the Bill keeping in view the Constitutional requirement of reservation in employment of SC/STs, as well as those of the members falling under general category under the ‘catch-up rule’. The Bill complies with the Supreme Court judgment in the Pavitra case and in no way violate the Constitutional provisions.

Shivshankar said the apex court judgment in the Pavitra case and the over-enthusiasm shown by certain authorities sitting in corridors of the Secretariat in implementing the Supreme Court judgment and causing unjustified demotions, delivered a severe blow to the SC/ST employees and their families.

Jagdish Chalavadi, the 43-year-old Deputy Tahsildar in Banavasi of Uttara Kannada district committed suicide after he was demoted to the post of Village Accountant. Another senior employee, Lingaraju, an Assistant Executive Engineer with the Public Works Department in Chitradurga was demoted to the post of Junior Engineer, the post he held on his recruitment to the department.

Metri pointed that more than 20,000 SC/ST employees in the Karnataka State government departments had been affected and demoralised because of the Pavitra case. Their incomes had fallen and they were pushed into the throes of financial crisis, painting a bleak future for their children again vis-à-vis their educational growth and healthcare needs.

Metri added that the June 15 rally is to push for the President to take an early decision on the Bill, as any delay in the matter would only lead to injustice and demoralisation of thousands of SC/ST employees serving in the Karnataka state government.

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