The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed petitions seeking a review of its January 22 judgment, which upheld the Allahabad High Court’s decision that reservation in faculty positions at universities should be calculated department-wise and not by taking the total seats in a university as the basis.
A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Indira Banerjee, which considered the petitions by the Centre and University Grants Commission (UGC), said that the “grounds in the review petitions were also raised and gone into when the special leave petitions were considered by this Court. The decision rendered by the High Court was found to be correct and the special leave petitions were dismissed. The Court also noted that similar challenge raised on behalf of certain individual petitioners had also been rejected earlier. Taking totality of the circumstances, the submissions raised by the University Grants Commission and the Union of India were not accepted and the petitions were dismissed”.
Rejecting the review petitions, the judges said they “do not find any error apparent on record to justify interference in review jurisdiction”.
The HC, in its April 7, 2017 judgment, had said that if university is taken as the unit for every level of teaching and applying the roaster, it would result in some departments/subjects having all reserved candidates, and some having only unreserved candidates – violative of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution. Accordingly, it quashed Clause 6(c) and 8(a)(v) of the guidelines framed by the UGC.
Clause 6 (c) said posts should be grouped together wherever more than one university is functioning under a single Act, or where more than one college functions under one university, to avoid artificial reduction of cadre strength in order to avoid reservation. Clause 8(a) (v) called for the implementation of a roster system as per the directions of the apex court in the 1995 case R K Sabharwal and Others vs State of Punjab and Others.