On 22nd of January, the Supreme Court shockingly upheld a controversial Allahabad High Court verdict mandating department to be considered as unit while implementing reservation for SC/ST/OBC in faculty positions in colleges and universities. The department based roster is called the 13 point roster that has disastrous implications of decimating SC/ST/OBC reservation in university faculty positions. The recent SC verdict comes in the backdrop of total government apathy to ensure the earlier 200 point roster that implements reservation correctly. This is also a time when the BJP government has hurriedly passed a bill of 10% reservation for general category from the parliament. This 10% is nothing but an attempt to polarize opinion against SC/ST/OBC reservation and bypassing constitutional mandate to scuttle reservation for SC/ST/OBC in the coming days.
Here is a backdrop of the latest SC Verdict:
In April 2018, three universities advertised for faculty positions. The Central University of Tamil Nadu offered 2 posts for OBC category out of 65 total faculty positions advertised. The Indira Gandhi National Tribal University offered 1 post under OBC category out of total 52 posts advertised. In both the cases no SC/ST reservation has been offered. And in Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi Vishwavidyalaya no reservation has been provided for SC/ST or OBC out of 18 posts advertised.
This came as an aftermath of UGC’s 5th March, 2018 letter to all universities directing them to implement reservation based on total strength of individual departments rather than of the whole College/University. If this formula continues to be implemented, in large universities like the BHU posts reserved for SC will be reduced by half, those for ST by almost 80 percent and for OBC teachers by 30 percent. The UGC cited Allahabad High Court verdict of April, 2017 as the reason for such direction. But what lies beneath is the pattern of UGC decisions and the promptness with which the UGC brings out a notice to scuttle reservation while even after a decade the huge backlog in fulfilling constitutionally mandated reservation of 15%, 7.5% and 27% for SC, ST and OBC respectively has not been implemented yet. It was in 2006 that the UGC under the chairpersonship of Prof. Sukhdeo Thorat brought out a notification for implementing reservation – “The practice of creating depart-wise cadres, which tends to create single posts or cadres with artificially reduced number of posts in order to avoid reservation, is strictly prohibited”. Even after years of struggles, the 2006 notification could not be implemented properly in Universities and thousands of reserved posts still lie vacant. And now, under this new regime, the UGC promptly brings out a notification to revert its own decision of 2006 and asks universities to implement reservation based on total strength of individual departments. If this new notification of 5th March, 2018 is to be implemented then there would be no post created for reserved categories in most of the appointments as total strength of individual departments would never create a post for reservation. This notification has not only scuttled constitutionally mandated reservation in new advertisements for faculty appointment, it also has jeopardized the process of recruitment in universities like the Delhi University where advertisement for permanent positions came out after several years. The re-recruitment of thousands of ad-hoc teachers of Delhi University who anyway face unsecured working condition are also jeopardized now.
The question that we need to ask is CAN THE UGC AND THE MHRD SHED-OFF THEIR RESPONSIBILITY IN BRINGING IN THIS FIASCO?
The MHRD Prakash Javadekar has been paying lip service to the cause of implementing reservation. BJP MPs like Udit Raj are busy accusing the court. The 10% reservation bill for general category was passed from both houses of the Parliament without any public debate on it. BJP has also passed the dangerous Citizenship Amendment Bill from Loksabha. But in spite of public outrage against decimation of reservation due to 13 point roster, the government does not appear willing enough to enact law to restore 200 point roster.
We know that it is a question of political will. And the will of the present government in power is hidden from no one now. The pattern of decisions taken by MHRD and UGC is directed towards nothing but exclusion of the marginalized from higher education and jobs.
It is the same government that has forced seat cut and scuttled reservation earlier through 5th May, 2016 notification. From atrocities against Dalits, Adivasis and the oppressed on the streets to decimation of reservation in education and employment- the design of the BJP government is hidden no more.
At a time when it is utmost necessary that reservation is implemented in the private sector and the scope of dignified permanent employment in the public sector is expanded, the BJP government has decimated permanent employments as well as reservation. It is time that we unite and fight back against the systematic design of decimating reservation. The 200 point roster must be restored.
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