The Quashed Notifications Case: Upholding Constitutional Boundaries

In a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of India, the case regarding the quashed notifications highlights the critical issue of maintaining constitutional boundaries. The Court’s ruling serves as a pivotal moment in clarifying the limits of parliamentary power, ensuring the adherence to established legal frameworks. Stay tuned for a comprehensive breakdown of this judgment and its implications for the legal landscape.


  • The High Court quashed the Notifications dated 28-12-2002 and 25-4-2008 regarding consequential seniority and promotion for SC/ST communities
  • The State Government constituted the Bhatnagar Committee to look into aspects of reservation in promotion as per the M. Nagaraj judgment
  • The impugned Constitution Amendments introducing Articles 16(4-A) and 16(4-B) were found valid by the Constitution Bench
  • Reservation in promotion depends on inadequate representation of SC/ST and Backward Classes as per the M. Nagaraj judgment
  • State is not bound to make reservation but can do so based on quantifiable data as per Article 335 of the Constitution
  • The State and its authorities were to act in terms of the Bhatnagar Committee’s report within two months as per the Suraj Bhan judgment
  • Proviso dated 28-12-2002 added to the Various Service Rules was subject to the final decision of the Court in Writ Petition (Civil) No 234 of 2002 filed in All India Equality Forum v. Union of India.
  • Respondents were deemed to have acted improperly in deleting the proviso mentioned above during the pendency of the writ petition before the Court through the Notification dated 25-4-2008.
  • The deletion of the proviso resulted in giving consequential seniority to candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes without quantifying the figures of SC and ST candidates or showing compelling reasons for reservation as mandated by the Court in M. Nagaraj v. Union of India.
  • The State Government’s non-compliance with the directions given in the M. Nagaraj case made the notification in question liable to be quashed.
  • The writ petitioners challenged the Notification dated 25-4-2008 issued by the State of Rajasthan amending the Rajasthan Various Service Rules with effect from 28-12-2002.
  • The petitioners were inducted in the Rajasthan Administrative Service in December 1982 through selection by the Rajasthan Public Service Commission and were governed by the Rajasthan Administrative Service Rules, 1954.
  • The final seniority lists of super-time scale and selection scale were published on 24-6-2008 and provisional seniority lists were published on 2-7-2008, showing changes in the seniority positions.
  • Multiple provisional seniority lists were published in subsequent years following orders by the Court in Ajit Singh (II) v. State of Punjab and Ram Prasad v. D.K. Vijay.

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  • Key issue: Determine whether the constitutional amendments have expanded Parliament’s power to disregard constitutional limitations.
  • Central question: Has Parliament been granted excessive authority through these amendments?
  • Focus: Analyzing the extent to which parliamentary power can overrule established constitutional boundaries.

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  • Dr. Dhavan pointed out instances where court orders were unintentionally breached.
  • Directions were given to departments to comply with Suraj Bhan Meena case.
  • The contention was made that directions in Suraj Bhan Meena were not followed.
  • Notification dated 11.09.2011 was deemed in contempt but was later set aside.
  • The Bhatnagar Committee was appointed to collect data for implementing judgments.
  • The delay in implementation was attributed to the lack of necessary data collection.
  • The State showed intention to comply despite slow progress.
  • The Bhatnagar Committee was appointed to gather quantifiable data for compliance.

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  • The judgment in Nagaraj needs to be revisited on the grounds argued before the Court.
  • The State’s obligation to show quantifiable data on the backwardness of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for inadequacy of representation in public employment was rejected.
  • The State’s inaction on collecting necessary data as per the Bhatnagar Committee was highlighted.
  • The law declared in M. Nagaraj and followed in Suraj Bhan Meena stated that no consequential seniority could be extended without quantifiable data on backwardness and inadequacy of representation.
  • The claim of backwardness is overplayed by vocal groups whose burden has lessened over time.
  • Lasting solution lies in improving social environment, educational facilities, and promoting inter-caste marriages.
  • Research is essential for objective re-evaluation of progress by ‘underdog’ categories to prevent ‘reservation’ from turning into ‘reverse discrimination’.
  • Innovations in administrative strategy for the most backward classes emerge from socio-legal studies and audit exercises.
  • The judgment discussed a test-relaxation rule in promotions from lower division clerks to upper division clerks, upheld as a means of helping Backward Classes.
  • Nagaraj stated that the State must collect quantifiable data on the backwardness of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and powers under Article 16(4A) cannot be exercised where there is adequate representation.
  • Special leave petitions introduced the ‘catch-up’ rule, allowing senior general candidates to regain seniority on promotion relative to juniors promoted against reserved vacancies.
  • Out of 15 results each for SC and ST, there are different levels of shortages and excess representation identified.
  • SC results show 6 cases of Alarming Shortage, 3 cases of Substantial Shortage, 6 cases of Moderate Shortage, and 1 case of Marginal Excess.
  • ST results indicate 11 cases of Alarming Shortage, 3 cases of Substantial Shortage, and 1 case of Moderate Shortage.
  • In some cases, cadres are saturated, and excess representation is indicated in 3 cases (2 Moderate and 1 Marginal).
  • There are challenges to notifications and committee reports pending before the High Court for further consideration.
  • The High Court found certain notifications to be invalid due to non-compliance with binding directions.
  • Recommendations were made by the Committee, based on which State Government issued a Notification.
  • The Notification dated 11.09.2011 was challenged in court but not found to be in contempt or invalid for non-compliance.
  • Consideration of adequacy of representation and seniority in the matter of promotions for SCs and STs.
  • Some levels of employees show a mixed picture of representation, with some indicating inadequacy.
  • Efforts to collect quantifiable data for SC and ST candidates to ensure fair representation.
  • Arguments surrounding the exclusion of creamy layer and the application of reservation principles.
  • Ongoing discussions and challenges regarding the notifications and reports in court.
  • Different levels of representation identified for State and Subordinate services for SCs and STs.
  • The completeness of data collection and adherence to court directives in assessing representation.
  • Emphasis on the importance of reservation to uplift backward classes for equal opportunities.
  • Reviewing the efficacy of Circulars and Notifications in ensuring adequate representation.
  • The complexity of ensuring equal representation in a hierarchical structure.
  • Underlying principles of exclusion based on creamy layer and reservation benefits.
  • Continuous monitoring and review of representation levels to address inadequacies.
  • The challenge to the recommendations made by the Bhatnagar Committee must be considered in light of the directions given in the Jarnail Singh case.
  • Quantifiable data presented by the Committee should be taken into account during this process.
  • The High Court will need to evaluate the recommendations against the guidelines set by the Supreme Court in Jarnail Singh.
  • The holistic view of the recommendations and the data is crucial in making an informed decision in this matter.


  • The judgment and order under appeal has been set aside.
  • Contempt petitions are directed to be closed.
  • High Court has been requested to consider taking up matters challenging the Notification dated 11.09.2011 and recommendations of the Bhatnagar Committee within six months.
  • Restraining respondents from making any selection for IAS cadre through promotion until the disposal of the writ petition.
  • Contempt petitions not entertained any longer.
  • Writ petitions pending in the High Court of Rajasthan should be decided within three months.
  • Parties to appear before the High Court on 30th September, 2016, for fixing the date for final hearing.
  • High Court of Rajasthan requested to dispose of the listed Writ Petitions without delay.
  • The matter was deferred by the High Court due to a reference to a larger Bench regarding the law declared in M. Nagaraj case.
  • Substantive challenge required to delve into the issues beyond the scope of contempt jurisdiction.
  • The issuance of Notification dated 11.09.2011 can be challenged in substantive proceedings, but does not qualify as contumacious conduct deserving contempt action.

Case Title: BAJRANG LAL SHARMA Vs. C.K. MATHEW . (2020 INSC 79)

Case Number: CONMT.PET.(C) No.-000453-000454 / 2012

Click here to read/download original judgement

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