Kerala government bats for merit and reservation-based postings via PSC in aided schools, colleges run by private management

Minister K. Radhakrishnan says in Assembly that government-aided schools and colleges controlled by private managements practise ‘an unspoken form of untouchability’ in teaching and non-teaching staff appointments

Published - February 13, 2024 12:45 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala’s Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes K. Radhakrishnan

Kerala’s Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes K. Radhakrishnan

Kerala’s Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes K. Radhakrishnan has said government-aided schools and colleges controlled by private managements practised “an unspoken form of untouchability” in teaching and non-teaching staff appointments.

Replying to a calling attention motion moved by Congress legislator A.P. Anil Kumar in the Kerala Assembly on February 13 (Tuesday), Mr. Radhakrishnan said the State government had moved a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court to redeem the social unfairness.

Mr. Radhakrishnan said the government has demanded that the Supreme Court empower the State Public Service Commission (PSC) to appoint teaching and non-teaching staff in government-aided schools and colleges based on merit and by following the rules of reservation for SC/ST and backward class communities.

He said the existing appointment policy of aided school and college managements discriminated heavily against SC/ST communities. SC/ST employment in such institutions was less than 0.5%.

Mr. Radhakrishnan said an estimated 8,332 aided schools and colleges employ roughly 1.22 lakh teaching and non-teaching staff. The government paid their salaries, an estimated 14% of the State’s revenue receipt.

Hence, Mr. Radhakrishnan said, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government has moved decisively to implement affirmative action in government-aided educational institutions run by private management via the PSC.

High Court order

However, private management stymied the move by securing a favourable order from the High Court. The government has challenged the order in the Supreme Court. He said the outcome of the SLP would inform the government’s policy.

Mr. Radhakrishnan alleged that revanchist forces championed by the Congress had scuttled Kerala’s first communist government under E.M.S Namboodiripad in 1960 for attempting to erase the “muted casteism” in appointments in the government-aided education sector via merit and reservation-based employment through the PSC.

The subsequent Pattom Thanupillai government dismantled the law to please powerful private management. “You brought the untouchability back, which we are even now trying to relegate to history books,” Mr. Radhakrishnan told Opposition benches.

Earlier, Mr. Kumar said the casteism that prevailed in the aided sector was a slur on Kerala’s claim to be an egalitarian society.

Mr. Kumar said the “unseen but palpable untouchability” sought to retard the social progress the State had achieved through Renaissance movements and agrarian revolutions. “Successive governments seemed fearful to address the issue”, he said.

Mr. Kumar asked Mr. Radhakrishnan to route appointments in Devaswom Board colleges to the PSC and implement admission and appointment reservations in such institutions.

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