After the decision of Supreme Court on teachers’ recruitment reservation in the universities, the Lok Sabha on Monday showed green signal to a bill that is proposed to treat a college or university as a unit instead of a department. It will enable to apply the reservations in the recruitment of teachers. All the central universities come under this bill.
According to the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill 2019, there will be recruitment against 8,000 existing vacancies at 41 central universities. Along with this, the 10% reservation for EWS (Economically Weaker Section) from general category will also be applicable. This bill was enacted in March 2019.
While addressing a debate on the bill, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ stated, “The Bill will give a major push to reforms in the education sector, making it inclusive and fulfilling aspirations of people from different categories.”
The opposition members were not convinced about the route and timing of the ordinance just before elections and addressed it as vote gaining trick. In defend, the MHRD minister said that the ordinance was issued as Supreme Court involved and declined to ponder the government’s view on this bill. Also, SC rejected the review petition.
The origin point of this issue is an Allahabad High Court order issued in April 2017, which said that there would be a separate department or division in the universities to act as a base unit to calculate the teaching posts under reservation for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes. After challenging the order in SC, the supreme body put a stay on this order. The apex court also dismissed the review petition filed by the HRD ministry in February 2019.
It spread a fear among the teachers and students that the new system would reduce the number of reserved seats and as a result, they started agitating against the decision.
The turning point came in March when Cabinet cleared the ordinance for faculty recruitment in central universities to support the reservation mechanism and overturn the SC and HC orders.
Pokhriyal explained the bill as the start of a new epoch in the education sector in India and said, “This proposed legislation shows the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s commitment for the welfare of the last man in the queue.” He also termed those who oppose the bill as the people who lack commitment for the welfare of backward groups in our society.
He also added that the purpose of this bill is to make the direct recruitment of candidates belonging from SC, ST, Backward Classes and EWS in the teachers’ cadre seamless. The bill is applicable to certain Central Educational Institutions. The 10% reservation for EWS from general category will also be applicable under this bill.
In the debate, the opposition members laid emphasis on sending the bill to the Standing Committee for a final and comprehensive review. According to Congress leader Adhir Rajan Chowdhury, their party was not against the bill contents, rather they found it an invalid move to issue an ordinance when the Lok Sabha election dates were approaching.
“I would oppose invocation of ordinance…this kind of arbitrary invocation of the ordinance does not augur well for a vibrant democracy,” Chowdhury stated.
With the reference of the past reservation system that was only meant for socially and educationally backward sections, DMK leader A Raja demanded that the EWS reservation should be temporarily added to the bill while sending it to the Parliament Committee for scrutiny.