HC order opens Pandora’s box in higher education sector

The High Court order to quash the appointments of 58 teachers in Kerala University has opened a Pandora’s box in the higher education sector. The judgement is feared to pave the way for the annulment of numerous appointments made in at least five State universities since 2014.

The court’s single-bench order has also put a question mark on the legal validity of the University Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2014 passed by the State Assembly, which formed the basis of the appointments made in 2017.

Like many others across the country, the university had abandoned the practice of applying separate communal rotation for each category of teaching posts in each department. Instead, teaching posts were pooled category-wise by treating all the departments as a single unit. Other universities, including Kannur, Calicut, Mahatma Gandhi Universities, Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit and National University of Advanced Legal Studies, have all been following the procedure since 2014.

While notifying 105 teaching posts in 2017, Kerala University had also implemented the 3% reservation approved by the government for Persons with Disabilities (PWD).

Significant fall

Official sources pointed out that while the manner in which the appointments were conducted ensured 50% for the reserved sections, reverting to the process of considering teaching departments as separate units for fixing reserved posts would have led to a significant fall.

Applying the previous methodology, the number of ‘open’ (or general category) posts would have been 32 of the 44 Assistant Professor posts that were notified. Only 12 posts (27% of the total number) would have gone to the reserved sections. Likewise, department-wise rotation would have brought down reservation in the Professor and Associate Professor categories to 3% and 23% respectively.

Pointing out that an appeal will be filed against the single-bench verdict, Kerala University Vice-Chancellor V.P. Mahadevan Pillai said that the previous system of appointments could never have fostered social justice as the existing one.

“While many appointments could be made from reserved sections, these included two postings made from the PWD category, a first in the university’s history since its inception in 1937,” Dr. Pillai said.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 10:34:25 AM |

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