Vacant faculty post will not be de-reserved, says UGC Chairperson

Draft provision will not be part of final guidelines, says Jagadesh Kumar, after it draws backlash from academics and activists across the country

January 28, 2024 10:51 pm | Updated 11:03 pm IST - New Delhi

A view of University Grants Commission (UGC), in New Delhi.

A view of University Grants Commission (UGC), in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The draft provision allowing “de-reservation” of faculty vacancy meant for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, and the Other Backward Classes in Central universities will not be part of the final guidelines, University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairperson M. Jagadesh Kumar said on Sunday evening, hours after the provision drew severe backlash from the academic community and activists across the country.

It proposed that vacancy reserved for SC, ST, and OBC candidates can be declared unreserved if enough candidates from these categories are not available.

Mr. Kumar said it was just a “final draft” and that it would be revised and corrected after analysing the public feedback on the document. “There is nothing like de-reservation and there will not be any de-reservation. The entire draft guidelines are meant for feedback, After that, there will always be corrections in the guidelines and then the final guidelines will come. As far as de-reservation is concerned, that will not be part of final guidelines,” he told presspersons.

The Final Draft Guidelines were put in the public domain by the government on December 27, with a deadline of January 28 to send feedback and comments.

Amid the controversy, the UGC posted a statement from Mr. Kumar on X, which said, “This is to clarify that there has been no de-reservation of reserved category positions in Central Educational Institutions (CEI) in the past and there is going to be no such de-reservation. It is important for all HEIs to ensure that all backlog positions in reserved category are filled up through concerted efforts.”

Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice-Chancellor Santishree Pandit also clarified that no such de-reservation had ever taken place at the university. She added that the university was “proud of implementing the Constitutional guarantees under the Reservation policy as stipulated by MoE, GoI”.

The Education Ministry, in a statement on X, said, “Reservation in Central Educational Institutions (CEI) is provided for all posts in direct recruitment in Teacher’s cadre as per the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act, 2019. After enactment of this Act, no reserved post is to be de-reserved. Ministry of Education has given directives to all the CEIs to fill up the vacancies strictly as per the 2019 ACT.”

After media reports on Sunday morning highlighted this provision for de-reservation, outlined in Chapter X of the Final Draft Guidelines, many educators, including former UGC Chairperson Sukhdeo Thorat, told The Hindu that the UGC had “no legal authority” to open up the question of de-reservation in the first place.

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