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Quota flout glare on IITs - Figures point to bias in faculty recruitment

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BASANT KUMAR MOHANTY   |   Published 21.08.12, 12:00 AM

New Delhi, Aug. 20: The IITs and several central educational institutions have been flouting reservation rules for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs in recruitment of faculty, according to figures available, a trend experts said underlined the inherent bias against backward communities.

An IIT alumnus last week wrote to Rajya Sabha chairperson Hamid Ansari, seeking his intervention to end such discrimination.

Sources cited the example of IIT Bhubaneswar, which recruited 52 assistant professors in the last four years. Of the 52, three were from the Other Backward Classes while one was an SC candidate.

Centrally funded institutions are supposed to hire faculty according to the reservation rules that say 49.5 per cent seats should be reserved for backward segments — 27 per cent for OBCs, 15 per cent for SCs and 7.5 per cent for STs.

While teachers from backward communities can make it through the general category on merit, general category candidates cannot be hired against a vacancy in the reserved category.

According to the rules, the tech school should have recruited 14 OBC teachers, eight from among SCs and four ST candidates. Director Madhusudan Chakraborty was not available for comment.

The case of IIT Madras is no different. The institute has around 500 faculty members but fewer than 30 are from the OBC, SC and ST communities.

E. Muralidharan, an alumnus of the IIT, filed a complaint with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), whose Chennai office had asked the tech school to explain how it was implementing the reservation policy while recruiting teachers. The institute has not come up with a satisfactory response yet.

In a letter sent on July 30 to the NCSC headquarters, the Chennai office said that since IIT Madras had not replied to its queries, the case “may be taken up” at the commission’s “headquarters level for action deemed fit including invoking civil court powers”.

Muralidharan said the “constitutional right” of the backward classes was being “violated” by these premier tech school. Last week he wrote to Vice-President Ansari, seeking his intervention to end such “historic injustice”.

Central universities, too, don’t appear to have bothered much to implement the quota policy. Of the 8,848 teaching posts in 42 central universities, SC/ST and OBC teachers account for 1,380. The total number of reserved seats is around 4,400.

“If you consider all the centrally funded higher educational institutions, the vacancy in the reserved category is more than 60 per cent. The main reason is that the vice-chancellors and directors, who are mostly from upper-caste communities, resist appointment of candidates from backward communities,” said Kancha Ilaiah, director, Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad.

Ilaiah said teachers, who were mostly from the upper castes, were biased against other communities. “A typical excuse given by the institutes is that candidates from OBC, SC and ST communities are not good for teaching posts despite possessing PhD (degrees) and clearing the National Eligibility Test. This is deliberate discrimination.”

Gurinder Singh, student coordinator at Insight Foundation, an organisation working for the rights of SC/ST students, said selection panels had the discretion to decide which candidates to hire. “These selection panels comprise people mostly from the upper classes who reject candidates from backward communities.”

The Union HRD ministry recently wrote to all higher educational institutions to launch a special drive to fill vacancies in reserved categories.

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