This year in January, the Supreme Court concluded that it had erred in its judgment a year ago regarding providing reservation to SC/ST employees in promotion exercises carried out by banks in public sector. It has also said that it is upto the government and the PSU Bank to decide what course of action should be taken in order to grant permission to SC/ST employees for reservation in promotion of banks. As of now, there is no clear standing from the government regarding this and as per the present practice, no reservation is given to SC or ST employees in the officer cadre for getting promotion to higher cadres.
SC/ST Reservation in Promotion: The Background
India follows reservation system in government job recruitments to give equal status to the socially and economically backward communities of the society. It has recently been pointed by the RBI SC/ST Employees’ Union to the Supreme Court that the representation of the community in the higher posts of the central bank is abysmally low as of now. Other public sector banks also experience a similar scenario in this regard. That is why, last year Supreme Court ruled that there should be reservation in promotion policy of public sector banks, however, it has recently recalled that order.
SC/ST Reservation: The Present Scenario
As of now, there is no provision of reservation in promotion exercises carried out in public sector banks as it is only based on merit and seniority. The Apex Court has also ruled that it is the exclusive domain of the public sector bank boards and the Government of India to decide whether reservation should be allowed in promotional exercises of the public sector banks. The employee unions representing these communities are continuously demanding that the reservation benefits should be extended to the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe communities in order to increase the ratio of officers belonging to these communities in the higher cadres of the banks.
The Road Ahead for Reservation Case
It is still in the proposal stage that the backward communities should be extended reservation benefits in the promotional benefits as they are given in the case of recruitment exercises carried out by the public sector banks. However, the government has still not decided anything in this regard and it is yet to be seen what comes out of all these in the coming days. A feasibility study is being carried out by IBA to understand the actual ground situation of representation of these officers in the higher executive cadres and only then the real picture will emerge. Hence, it is still a matter of time that SC/ST communities get the benefit of reservation of promotion in public sector banks.