A day after Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra constituted a five-judge Constitution bench to hear pleas on promotion for SC/ST employees in government jobs, the Narendra Modi government on Friday, in the Supreme Court, submitted its stand on the matter. Representing the government’s view on the matter, Attorney General KK Venugopal said the government seeks 22.5% quota for SC/ST community in government job promotions. He added that he doesn’t know whether the reservation for SC/ST community in government jobs promotions is right or wrong.

The government’s top lawyer further told the Supreme Court that SC/ST suffered for more than 1000 years, adding that atrocities on them happen every day. It comes two days after the Narendra Modi Cabinet decided to amend the SC/ST Act and restore its original provisions struck down by the Supreme Court.

While hearing a plea earlier this year, the Supreme Court judge Justice AK Geol introduced safeguard measures and ‘diluted’ the SC/ST Act. The Supreme Court’s ruling triggered a countrywide agitation by the backward community, saying that it will increase atrocities against the SC/ST community.

In his farewell speech at the Supreme Court Bar Council, Justice AK Goel, who is now serving as National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairman after government’s ordered his appointment.

It also comes in the wake of opposition parties’ criticism against the government over ‘mistreating’ backward community. Meanwhile, NDA allies like Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP and Ram Das Athawale’s RPI(A) have mounted pressure on the government over the removal of the Justice AK Goel as the Green Court chief. BJP’s prominent Dalit face and MP Udit Raj recently said Dalits are sad over government’s decision to appoint Justice AK Goel as NGT chief.

The Supreme Court’s five-judge Constitution bench is examining whether its 12-year-old verdict that had dealt with the issue of providing reservations to SC and ST categories in government job promotions is right or wrong.

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Amit Bathla