Violation of reservation in top posts at universities

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The introduction of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019, which is meant to “provide for the reservation of posts in appointments by direct recruitment of persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the socially and educationally backward classes, to teachers’ cadre in certain Central Educational Institutions established, maintained or aided by the Central Government”, redresses the anomaly found in the recruitment of Other Backward Class (OBC) candidates at higher levels of teaching positions.

The ordinance indicates that reservation to OBCs shall be provided at all levels of teaching, leaving no space of misinterpretation by some universities that had arbitrarily restricted reservation for OBCs to the level of ‘Assistant Professor’.

However, recent advertisements by 13 central universities are in clear violation of the ordinance. Of these, only Allahabad University and Dr. Harisingh Gour University have followed fully the reservation policy by earmarking positions for OBCs at all levels, while the Central University of Kashmir has reservation at all levels except that of ‘Professor’.

Representation of OBCs

Further, even after a clarification issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development last month, only the Central University of Himachal Pradesh issued a revised notification providing OBC reservation at all levels of teaching.

Curiously, while the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University — Amarkantak has reserved positions for ‘Economically Weaker Sections’ (EWS) at the levels of ‘Associate Professor’ and ‘Professor’, it has no reserved positions for OBCs. The Tata Institute of Social Sciences, which is known for its commitment to issues related to social justice, too has no reservation at higher levels of teaching positions. The rapidity with which the Central University of Rajasthan has almost reached the last step of recruitment is questionable.

Though OBCs account for about 50% of the country’s population, their representation in all faculty positions in all central educational institutions is only 9.8%. According to a recent report by the University Grants Commission, only 13.87% of positions at the Assistant Professor-level in central universities were occupied by OBCs. The representation became almost negligible at higher levels, i.e. those of Associate Professor and Professor, accounting for just 1.22% and 1.14%, respectively.

Noticeably, the representation of OBCs was less than that of Muslims at higher levels of teaching. Certain communities of Muslims are recognised as OBCs, and if we exclude them, the representation of non-Muslim OBCs in the institutions would become negligible.

In case of violations

Generally, the decision-making power at universities rest upon the Professors and Associate Professors. Professors, who play a significant role in the recruitment process, at times misinterpret the constitutional provisions.

Even if a violation is found, the maximum a court does is to order a correction to the institution’s advertisement, without awarding any compensation to the petitioner or punishment to the violators. Moreover, legal procedure is tedious and hence is generally avoided.

Noticeably, implementation of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs in higher educational institutions funded by the Centre was delayed for more than 15 years after the announcement, while the same for EWS was done within a month of the announcement. Such differential treatment results in imbalanced representation of a social group at higher levels of teaching and decision-making.

Anish Gupta and Aaleya Giri teach at Delhi University. Views are personal

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2020 8:17:19 AM |

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