The government has moved the Supreme Court to seek review of its judgement upholding an Allahabad High Court order to prepare a department-wise roster of teachers’ vacancies for SC and ST candidates. “We have filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court in this connection on behalf of the UGC and the ministry. I hope it is heard soon so that there is justice,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters at BJP headquarters at New Delhi.
“We feel that the roster of SC/ST teachers be prepared considering entire institution as an unit, in line with an old mechanism, and not a department. Since there was an order in this connection a circular was issued,” he added. Following an Allahabad High Court order–upheld by the Supreme Court–the University Grants Commission (UGC) had on March 5 announced a new mechanism for implementing faculty reservations, that is, calculating total posts department wise rather than institution wise.
The move is likely to have serious implications as it is believed to cut down the number of posts available for SC and ST faculty members. The UGC has said that its new reservation formula was in response to a direction of the Allahabad High Court in April last year. Hearing a case on hiring teachers at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), the high court had said that each department, rather than the entire university, should be treated as a “unit” to form the basis for reservation.
The court had also struck down the UGC’s institution-wise reservation policy to fill vacant faculty positions, saying there were departments without SC or ST teachers. Various Dalit groups have been protesting against the UGC decision as, they said, it would lead to a fall in the numbers of reserved seats.