The Lok Sabha on Monday passed the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill 2019, which seek to replace an Ordinance issued in March and help fill about 7,000 existing vacancies in 41 Central universities.
The House unanimously passed the Bill, a first for the 17th Lok Sabha, though some members of the Opposition demanded that it be referred to the standing committee for a comprehensive review. The Bill will make University a unit, rather than a department, for the purpose of providing reservation in teachers’ positions in Central educational institutions.
“After passing this Bill, a new chapter will open,” said HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. “The Bill also has provision for 10 per cent reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS). The government has already approved allocation of ₹770 crore for reservation for EWS.”
The Minister, while moving the Bill for passage, said it aimed to provide for reservation in appointments by direct recruitment of persons belonging to the SC, ST, Socially and Economically Backward Classes and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) to the teachers’ cadre in certain Central Education Institution.
Participating in the debate, Congress leader Adhir Rajan Chowdhury said his party was not opposed to the contents of the Bill, but questioned the urgency of issuing an Ordinance days before the announcement of Lok Sabha elections. “I would oppose invocation of the ordinance... this kind of arbitrary invocation of ordinance does not augur well for a vibrant democracy,” he said.
Mr. Chowdhury said the BJP-led government had invoked the largest number of ordinances in the history of the country’s Parliamentary democracy. He demanded that the Bill be referred to the Standing Committee for a comprehensive examination.
Mr. Pokhriyal said the urgency came from the need to fill these seats/vacancies at the earliest.
Raising questions on the implementation of the Bill, Supriya Sule (NCP) wondered how reservation would be provided for the post of Vice-Chancellor. “We are not opposing the Bill, we are supporting the Bill. But we need to know the truth behind ordinances. The Bill is not the success of the government, but of the common man who went ahead agitating, forcing the Centre to bring an ordinance.” She said 26% of Maharashtra government posts were vacant. “How will this Bill help fill these vacancies?”
Earlier in March, the Cabinet had cleared an Ordinance on reservation mechanism for appointment of faculties in Universities. The University Grants Commission had announced in March last year that an individual department should be considered as the base unit to calculate the number of teaching posts to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates, following an order by the Allahabad High Court in April 2017.
The Supreme Court had in February dismissed a review petition filed by the HRD Ministry after its special leave petition against the court order was rejected by the apex court. This was met with protests from teachers and students across the country.