‘SC/ST/OBC staff recruited through merit not part of quota matrix for promotions’

It’s expected to provide promotion chances for more staff from these communities

In what is being described as having far-reaching consequences for those from the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and Backward Classes in the bureaucracy, the State Government has said that people from these communities, appointed to State jobs on merit, should not be considered part of the reservation matrix for promotions.

What this means is that more officers and employees from the SC/ST/OBC communities will now have opportunities to receive reservation benefits for promotions during their careers under the Karnataka Consequential Seniority Act.

As per the Karnataka Civil Services Rules, 15% and 3% of promotions in departmental cadres are currently reserved for SCs and STs, respectively, that are calculated based on their population, and promotions are affected based on a reservation roster.

A Government circular, issued by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms on Saturday, clarified that those from SC/ST/OBC communities appointed directly through merit or those who have had promotions subsequently, based on merit, should not be considered part of the reservation matrix.

“They should be considered general candidates and they should not be counted in the reservation matrix while calculating the cadre strength,” it added.

The appointing authorities have been directed to identify merit candidates in the selection lists announced.

“This circular has solved a 20-year-old problem. In a 1999 order, general merit, general seniority, and backlog were considered based on the current working strength of the cadre. Meritorious candidates were brought under the reserved category, which has now been changed,” said D. Chandrashekaraiah, president of the Karnataka State Government SC/ST Employees’ Association. He pointed out that the Karnataka Consequential Seniority Act, 2017, had also clarified on this issue, following which the Government has issued the circular. “The circular addresses confusions that persisted since then.”

Correction sought

Mr. Chandrashekaraiah, however, said that the circular was erroneous, since it had said that it would come with prospective effect. The association has written to the Chief Secretary seeking correction.

Further, the circular has clarified that only those SC/ST/OBC candidates, who have not received any benefits except for fee waiver during appointments, are to be considered as general candidates. “In case if a candidate receives any other benefits, apart from fee, he/she will be considered as part of the reservation matrix fixed for these communities.”

The Government has also provided options for the meritorious candidates from these communities to choose reservation in promotion during their career.

However, if such a candidate chooses to seek reservation, such employees will be removed from the general list. Further, the circular clarifies that the reservation matrix cannot be stopped from implementation even if the 15% and 3% reservation of the cadre strength is completed.

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