The apex court upheld the Allahabad High Court’s 2017 order in the matter. It is feared that the number of reserved posts will now come down.
New Delhi: Faculty posts in universities will now be reserved department-wise, not according to the total number of posts available at a university, after the Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed all appeals filed by the Centre challenging the Allahabad High Court’s 2017 order.
It is feared that the number of teaching posts reserved under the quota system for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes across central universities will now come down. Considering that reserved faculty posts already go vacant in huge numbers, the new policy is likely to further shrink the representation of marginalised sections across the university system.
The apex court bench, comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and Indira Banerjee, dismissed the plea eight months after the Centre had challenged the Allahabad HC order. The Centre wanted to roll back the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) 5 March 2018 order which changed the system.
The faculty reservation row
In April 2017, the Allahabad High Court, while hearing a plea filed by teachers from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), had struck down a UGC circular which pointed out that there were departments without any teachers from the marginalised community and decreed that quotas for the vacant SC/ST posts would be filled institution-wise.
The high court had then said that each department would be considered as a “unit” on which reservations would be based, rather than the university as a whole.
The UGC’s May 2018 order followed the high court verdict.
The Centre’s appeal in the top court was a measure of course correction after it faced backlash from the Dalit community on this matter, as well as for the Supreme Court’s dilution of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The Centre had actually set up a 10-member inter-ministerial committee to look into the issue of university reservations, and this committee had then advised the Centre to file a petition as a way to roll back the UGC’s order.