06.03.2019: The Indian Express
On a day that saw protests backed by tribal and Dalit rights outfits, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday reiterated the Union government’s commitment to the old formula for reservation in teaching jobs in higher education.
With the Supreme Court rejecting the government’s review petition against department-wise reservation in faculty positions last week, Javadekar assured that an ordinance to restore the 200-point roster would be brought in “two days”.
Last week, the apex court upheld the Allahabad High Court judgment favouring the 13-point roster for the third time. The HC had ruled that reservation in faculty positions in universities should be calculated department-wise and not by taking the total seats in a university as the basis. The judgment and subsequent UGC order of March 2018 implementing the verdict had irked political parties with a substantial support base among SC/ST and OBC communities, because it results in limited seats available for recruitment by each department under reserved categories.
The political furore forced the government to give an assurance on the floor of the House on February 8 that an ordinance would be brought to overturn the department-wise reservation or 13-point roster should the SC reject its review petition. Javadekar’s statement in New Delhi on Tuesday was a reiteration of this.
Shift would affect SC, ST, OBC representation
The switch from university-wise to department-wise reservation in faculty positions in universities and colleges is expected to make a big dent in SC/ST and OBC representation among teachers. This is evident from the projection made by the Union government in its review petition filed in the Supreme Court last month. If reservation is implemented department-wise, the total posts across SCs, STs and OBCs in 21 central universities will shrink from 2,663 to 1,241.
“I had promised in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha that if our review petition is turned down, we will take whatever legal options are available to us,” he said, appealing to protesters to wait. “You will get justice in two days, I can assure you that.”
In Patna, Javadekar’s Cabinet colleague and LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan also tried to calm tempers, assuring that the Centre would bring an ordinance in “two-three” days. He attributed the delay to the government being busy with recent developments post-Pulwama attack.
Paswan told The Indian Express: “I am speaking on behalf of the Centre that an ordinance on 13-point roster system would be brought in two-three days. There is no need for anyone to do politics on it.”
The minister said that since the court verdict had come, an ordinance would follow soon. “We want the 200-point roster system back, as the new system would deny reservation to candidates of OBC, EBC and SC/ST. As the 13-point system takes into account vacancies in colleges or faculty-wise, not university-wise, there would not be enough vacancies in colleges to ensure previous 49.5 per cent reservation. Now that the Centre has brought 10 per cent EWS quota, fairness would demand that reservation for OBC and SC/STs are protected by reverting to the 200-point roster system.
Asked if LJP needed to pass a resolution, like its NDA ally JD(U), to demand the ordinance, Paswan said: “There is no need. We have been demanding it all along. I am saying on behalf of the Centre that the ordinance will be brought in two-three days.”
Taking a dig at Opposition parties, Paswan said: “They are protesting and enforcing Bharat Bandh for no reason. They should understand that legality was involved in bringing the ordinance. The Centre has gone step by step. The ordinance will come through.”