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Teacher quota bill sidesteps DoPT gripe, reaches cabinet

Many departments in new universities lack more than three posts in a single category, practically exempting them from reservations

By Basant Kumar Mohanty in New Delhi
  • Published 23.12.18, 2:40 AM
  • Updated 23.12.18, 2:40 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Two ministry officials confirmed that the bill was with the cabinet, and a Samajwadi Party MP claimed that HRD minister Prakash Javadekar (above) had assured him the bill would be introduced during the current session of Parliament. Telegraph file picture

The human resource development ministry has ignored objections from the department of personnel and training and sent its draft bill on teacher recruitment quotas to the Union cabinet for clearance.

Two ministry officials confirmed that the bill was with the cabinet, and a Samajwadi Party MP claimed that HRD minister Prakash Javadekar had assured him the bill would be introduced during the current session of Parliament.

The bill aims to undo an April 2017 Allahabad High Court judgment that said that teacher reservation should be implemented taking each department, and not the whole institution, as a unit.

Earlier, all the vacant teaching posts in an institution were clubbed together while calculating the overall number of reserved posts available during a particular round of recruitment. Compliance with the high court judgment would drastically reduce the quota seats available.

Amid a political controversy, Javadekar’s ministry and the University Grants Commission had separately petitioned the Supreme Court against the verdict. The delay in the apex court has now led the ministry to draft the bill, which legalises institution-wise quota enforcement.

Last month, Javadekar’s ministry had sought feedback on the draft bill from related ministries such as those for social justice and tribal affairs and the department of personnel and training (DoPT).

Two ministry officials said the DoPT had replied that individual ministries should not pilot reservation-related bills and that, if necessary, the department would itself do so since it is the nodal ministry on reservation matters.

However, various individual ministries have piloted laws relating to reservation in the past. For example, the HRD ministry had in 2007 brought in the Central Educational Institutions Bill that introduced a 27 per cent Other Backward Classes quota in college admissions.

Text messages sent to DoPT spokesperson Bharat Bhushan seeking an explanation for the department’s stand have not evoked any response in two weeks.

“The minister has assured me that a bill will be brought during the current winter session”, Samajwadi MP Dharmendra Yadav, who has moved a motion for a discussion on the matter and met Javadekar on Friday, told The Telegraph.

BJP allies such as the Lok Janshakti Party too have demanded a law to circumvent the high court judgment.

Last march, the University Grants Commission had asked central universities to implement the teacher quotas department-wise but, after a furore, advised all recruitment to be put on hold.

Under a department-wise system, every fourth post would be reserved for OBCs, every seventh for the Scheduled Castes (under the 15 per cent quota) and every 13th for the Scheduled Tribes (7.5 per cent quota) in each category of posts: professor, associate professor and assistant professor.

Many departments in new universities lack more than three posts in a single category, practically exempting them from reservations.

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