X Close

Quota in promotions: SC closes contempt proceedings against union home secretary


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday closed the contempt proceedings against Ajay Bhalla, the secretary in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), initiated over an alleged violation of the court order for maintaining the status quo on implementation of quotas for SC/ST officers in promotion in central government jobs.

The top court had in April 2021 issued the contempt notice to the senior IAS officer, posted as the secretary with the MHA since August 23, 2019, for allegedly violating its order.

It was alleged that the officer violated the apex court order of April 15, 2019, asking for the maintenance of the status quo with regard to the promotion of officers.

However, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) promoted 149 officers on an ad-hoc basis in 2020.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice S Ravindra Bhat took note of the submissions of Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the officer, and ordered the closure of the contempt proceedings.

"Having heard the counsel for contempt petitioners and the attorney general for India has advanced submissions on behalf of contempt petitioners, we see no reason to entertain the contempt petition.

The petition is disposed of.

"This shall not however be taken as a reflection of merits of the matter which will be gone into in pending appeals," the bench said in the order.

The central government had said over 2,000 posts were lying unoccupied due to order to maintain the status quo in regular promotions.

The status quo order was passed on a plea relating to the grant of quota in promotions to the employees belonging to the SC/ST categories.