Ordinance to override HC order on quotas in universities?

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet is likely to take up on Wednesday an ordinance to restore institution-based quotas for SC/STs and OBCs in appointment of teachers in universities and colleges. The ordinance will override the Allahabad HC ruling of last year striking down a UGC circular prescribing institution-wise quotas.

In line with the HC ruling, UGC, in a fresh order in March 2018, had issued new clauses that ordered a department-wise roster system for all levels of teachers. The commission asked the universities and colleges to prepare a fresh roster within a month to implement the new quota system for faculty appointments.

The department-wise formula caused considerable resentment as it was seen to sharply reduce the intake of reserved category teachers as against treating all appointments in a university as a whole.

There were instances where a limited number of posts in a particular department eliminated reservations for SCs and STs on a numerical basis.

Ordinance will help fill vacant univ posts

The ordinance will have political significance, too, as it is in sync with recent decisions intended to counter the charge of political rivals that the Modi government is not sensitive to the interests of SC/STs and OBCs.

The government successfully steered bills to restore automatic arrest in cases under the SC/ST act by undoing a Supreme Court order and to grant constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.

In the institution-based quota system, SC, ST and faculty positions were calculated by treating the entire university as one unit. It clubbed all posts of a grade, such as assistant professor, in all departments of a university to calculate quota.

UGC’s latest order had attracted criticism and protests from universities, which said such a policy of quota on the basis of departments rather than the university or college would possibly bring down reserved posts by 50-60%.

According to the Delhi University Teachers’ Association, a university with nearly 40% of permanent teaching positions lying vacant, the new policy would reduce the representation of the reserved categories across the university system.

Pending a hearing on the SLP, appointments to thousands of vacant positions have been put on hold. The ordinance will allow universities and colleges to resume the appointment process, which was put on hold after the HC ruling in April.
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