New Delhi, June 25: The 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes has been extended to lecturer posts in universities run by the Centre.
The human resource development ministry has asked all central universities and deemed universities to implement the quota for OBCs on the basis of a declaration of intent made after the Mandal commission flare-up.
The Backward Classes Commission, through which the central recommendation must pass, has also given its stamp of approval.
“The government is using the fact that it doesn’t need to go through the legislation route to implement job quotas to bring reservations for lecturers silently,” said Nisha Tomar, the Delhi University co-ordinator for the anti-quota group, Youth For Equality.
Unlike reservation in education — which needs a law — the government can bring in quotas in jobs on its discretion under Article 15 of the Constitution.
“Nothing in this article… shall prevent the state from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes,” the article says.
Universities — many are averse to the Centre’s reservation policy — cannot be hauled to court if they decide not to implement the quota for teachers because it is not a law.
However, the notification is in effect a directive as the universities receive funds from the Centre and many are at the government’s mercy.
“We have received the notification and will introduce OBC reservations now,” A.K. Dubey, the registrar of Delhi University (DU), told The Telegraph.
Officials of many other central universities echoed him. Minority institutions, however, are exempt from the reservation.
The largest university in the country, DU has around 7,000 lecturer posts, including the teaching staff of its over 60 colleges. Central universities across India in all have around 50,000 lecturer posts.
DU’s executive council took the decision to implement the quota on March 23. Sources said that fearing a furore, the decision was not given too much publicity.
All central universities already have 22.5 per cent lecturer seats reserved for SCs and STs, though many of these seats are lying vacant.
All examinations for central government jobs through the Union Public Service Commission also have the 27 per cent quota for OBCs.
In Bengal, OBC quota for teachers works out to 7 per cent and applies only from primary classes to Class XII.
The anti-quota activists have launched a signature campaign — both online and on campuses across India — against the move. They are also planning to petition the Supreme Court soon, although it is not clear on what ground the central directive can be challenged.
The group is fighting a legal battle with Pune-based Symbiosis Institute, a private institute that went ahead with the OBC reservation for students this year despite a Supreme Court stay on government-aided colleges from implementing it.
The activists of Youth for Equality contend that the shortage of qualified faculty will get accentuated with the move to reserve seats for OBC candidates.
“Deserving” candidates, they said, would be barred because of the quota.