UGC building in New Delhi | UGC website
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The move to stop the department-wise distribution of quota comes after a meeting of NDA constituents with the PM. 

New Delhi: The ministry of human resource development Wednesday asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to put on hold its new quota plan for teachers till the Supreme Court issues its verdict in the matter. The court will take up the case Friday.

According to sources in the ministry, the decision to stay the implementation of department-wise reservation was taken after a meeting of NDA constituents attended by the Prime Minister Tuesday.

“At the meet, it was mentioned that the department-wise appointment system will reduce the representation of SCs, STs and OBCs, which is why it was decided that the HRD ministry will instruct the UGC to roll back the decision till the time Supreme Court gives its verdict,” a source said.

Confirming the development, junior HRD minister Upendra Kushwaha said, “At a meeting of NDA leaders, the matter was discussed with the Prime Minister last night (Tuesday).”

“We thank the Prime Minister for accepting the proposal to put a ban on appointments on the basis of department-wise reservation,” he added.

The quota confusion

In a controversial order issued to all universities on 5 March, the UGC had directed that an individual department be considered the base unit to calculate the number of teaching posts to be reserved for SC/ST and OBC candidates. Critics argued that the move would shrink the pool of jobs available for quota beneficiaries, saying they might be squeezed out altogether from smaller departments.

It followed an Allahabad High Court directive, upheld by the Supreme Court, that struck down the institute-wise selection process by which every institution was considered the base unit. The idea was to encourage a more equal distribution of SC/ST and OBC faculty members across different departments.

The UGC order led to an uproar, forcing the government to file a review petition in the Supreme Court in April. The UGC then officially informed universities about the petition, but did not ask them to stop hiring under the new — department-wise — system, which resulted in confusion ahead of a new academic year.

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