Reservation for a single post in a cadre amounts to violation of Article 16(1) and 16(4) of the Constitution.

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In the case of Akhilesh Kumar Singh v. Ram Dawan, decided on 23rd September 2015 by the Supreme Court of India presided by the division bench of  Justice Dipak Misra and Justice P.C. Pant, it was held that the question of reservation will arise only when there is plurality of post in the cadre. The question before the Court was whether a reservation for a single post in a cadre is valid or not. The bench held that reservation for a single post in a cadre will keep the general members of the public in total exclusion and would amount to 100% reservation which would violate Article 16(1) and 16(4) of the Constitution.

The bench also stated that the concept of reservation which finds place in Article 16(1) of the Constitution is only restricted to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. It does not lay down that if a post is meant to be filled up by promotion from amongst the employees working in the feeder cadre, it would tantamount to reservation. In explaining the “Note” Regulation 2 framed under U.P. Intermediate Education Act, 1921, which was in question in the present case, the Court held that the Regulation provides for 50% of the total number of posts to be promoted through promotion and the “Note” appended is an inseparable part of the Regulation and it lays down that in calculation of the 50% of the post less than half would be left and half or more than half post would be deemed as one. The Court, hence, held that if a singular post in the clerical cadre is there, it would be filled up by promotion from amongst the eligible candidates from the feeder cadre.

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