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Dalit, Tribal MPs eye private campus quota

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By BASANT KUMAR MOHANTY
  • Published 28.12.11
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New Delhi, Dec. 27: An association of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe MPs has appealed to the Prime Minister to bring a law to allow student quotas in private institutions.

The 165 parliamentarians, who form the Forum of SC and ST Parliamentarians, want the government to heed the 93rd amendment to the Constitution Act. Six years ago, the government had brought the amendment to provide reservation to students of SCs and STs and other backward classes (OBCs) in educational institutions, including those in private sector.

A separate law was passed to bring into force the reservation system in central institutions, but regarding private institutions no law came.

“The private educational institutions are not giving reservation to students from disadvantaged sections, though the 93rd constitutional amendment provides for it. We have appealed to the Prime Minister to implement the 93rd constitutional amendment in totality,” J. Seelam, the secretary general of the forum, said.

Through the 93rd amendment, a clause was inserted in Article 15. The new clause says nothing in this article “shall prevent the state from making any special provision, by law, for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in so far as such special provisions relate to their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions”.

It adds that such institutions may be “aided or unaided by the state, other than minority educational institutions”.

The forum members met Manmohan Singh early this month. “The Prime Minister has assured us that the demand would be considered,” Seelam said.

When Kapil Sibal took over as human resource development minister in May 2009, he told reporters that the bill providing for reservation in private institutions would be brought after consensus among stakeholders. The ministry, it seems, has not taken any step in this direction yet.

The forum members also met Sibal. They also demanded reservation for SC and ST students in the branches of foreign universities in India.

The government has introduced a bill in Parliament to allow the entry of foreign educational institutions. These institutions are exempt from the government’s reservation policy because they are being treated as private institutions.

Seelam said: “If the law is enacted to provide reservation in private institutions, it will automatically apply to the foreign universities.”

The forum has also demanded for provision of representation from SC and ST communities in future higher education tribunals.

The forum also told Sibal that a bill should be brought to check harassment of SC and ST students and cases of discrimination against them on campus.

A HRD ministry official said the representation of the forum is under consideration of the ministry.