Ordinance lined up on quota in varsity hiring

The BJP-led Centre, which has been taunted as "anti-Dalit" by the Opposition, is considering a proposal to promulgate an ordinance to nullify a court order that ruled in favour of department-wise reservations in university recruitments.

By Basant Kumar Mohanty
  • Published 15.08.18
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HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi: The BJP-led Centre, which has been taunted as "anti-Dalit" by the Opposition, is considering a proposal to promulgate an ordinance to nullify a court order that ruled in favour of department-wise reservations in university recruitments.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry will send a proposal to the cabinet to consider promulgating an ordinance for a new law that would provide for the implementation of reservations treating the entire university as a unit.

The Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes are entitled to 15 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 27 per cent reservation, respectively, in teacher recruitment.

"The government is considering the promulgation of an ordinance soon to provide for reservations in faculty recruitment considering a university as a unit, and not department-wise hiring," higher education department secretary R. Subrahmanyam told The Telegraph.

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar has approved the ordinance, which will hold good for all centrally funded institutions, including central universities. The ordinance has been discussed with the law ministry and top law officers of the government, who have agreed to it, Subrahmanyam said.

The ordinance will aim at bringing in a new law, not amending any existing law. The law will be applicable to all 150-odd centrally funded higher educational institutions.

Reservation in teacher recruitment was earlier implemented taking the entire institution as a unit. Following an Allahabad High Court judgment last year, upheld by the Supreme Court, the University Grants Commission had asked the varsities in March to switch to department-wise implementation of teacher quotas.

After the UGC order, the central universities had decided to follow a 13-point roster system under which the first three posts would go to unreserved groups, the fourth one to an OBC, the seventh post to an SC and the 13th to an ST.

This posed a hindrance to the recruitment of SCs and STs. For example, if there are five sanctioned professors' posts in a department, SCs and STs will not get any reservation benefit. If there is one vacancy, which is the case with many departments in new universities, there won't be any quota.

Following the UGC circular, several central universities have issued advertisements for recruitment considering each department as a unit. The advertisements mostly denied reservation to SCs and STs while reducing the posts for OBCs.

Teachers from socially deprived sections launched protests across campuses against the new norms. Several ministers such as Thawaarchand Gehlot (social justice) and Ram Vilas Paswan (food) requested Javadekar to take legal recourse.

Under pressure, the HRD ministry and the UGC filed separate special leave petitions in the Supreme Court. In July, the government asked central universities to put in abeyance "till further order" the teacher recruitment process based on department-wise reservations. The matter was supposed to be heard on Monday, but it did not come up.

The universities have been asking the HRD ministry how long they would wait. Nearly 40 per cent teaching posts are vacant in these institutions.