The Supreme Court has allowed a plea for restoring relaxed norms in central government departmental promotion examinations for Scheduled Castes/Tribes employees which was withdrawn in 1997. The apex court termed as "illegal" the 1997 Office Memorandum containing the instructions to withdraw the norms for departmental promotions to SCs/STs.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha set aside the 1997 Central government office order and directed to provide reservation with all consequential reliefs. The Department of Personnel, in December 1970, had relaxed standards in the case of Scheduled Castes/Tribes candidates in departmental competitive examinations and in departmental confirmation examinations.
However, in 1997, the government had withdrawn this order which came under challenge and was allowed by the apex court. "Consequently, civil appeals are allowed. The impugned order is set-aside. 1997 Office Memorandum is declared illegal. The respondents are directed to modify the results in the Section Officers/Stenographers (Grade B/Grade-I) Limited Departmental Competitive Examination, 1996 by providing for reservation and extend all consequential reliefs to the appellants, if not granted so far," the bench also comprising Justices JS Khehar, J Chelameswar, AK Sikri and RF Nariman said.