The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019 not only paves the way to overturn an Allahabad High Court order that made it mandatory to calculate quota in faculty positions by treating each department as a unit, but also corrects a decade-old anomaly in reservation of teaching jobs for Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
The 27 per cent OBC reservation for teachers in higher education now also applies to posts at the level of associate professor and professor in case of “direct recruitment”. Earlier OBC quota was only applicable at the entry level — assistant professor.
The ordinance’s larger purpose, however, is to facilitate reservation for SC, ST and OBC candidates based on the 200-point roster, or, in other words, the total posts in a university or college.
Within hours of the ordinance being promulgated, University Grants Commission (UGC) ordered all central, state and deemed universities to immediately resume teachers’ recruitment. It had been on hold since July 2018 after a directive was issued by the higher education regulator. There are 17,106 teaching positions at 41 central universities, of which 5,997 were vacant as of April 1, 2017.
The Union government had on February 8 assured Parliament that an ordinance would be brought to overturn the department-wise reservation or 13-point roster, should the Supreme Court reject its review petition, which happened last week. The apex court upheld a 2017 order of the Allahabad High Court ordering a change in formula for implementing reservation in teaching jobs in universities.
The HC order dealt with recruitment of teachers in Banaras Hindu University. The petitioners had sought cancellation of the recruitment drive and a fresh beginning, treating each department as a unit for calculating the number of reserved faculty posts as opposed to the practice of treating the university as a “unit”.
The UGC implemented the decision through an order on March 5, 2018. This irked political parties with a substantial support base among SC/ST and OBC communities.
In the 13-point roster, the first three positions are meant for the general category, the fourth position is reserved for OBC, seventh for SC and the 14th for an ST candidate. After completion of one cycle, the same is repeated.
When quota is applied department-wise, reserved posts at the level of, say, assistant professor, will be determined separately for each department — based on total assistant professor posts in each department. Departments with two or more faculty posts, but fewer than 15 in a cadre, will have only one reserved for an SC candidate at serial number 7, and for an ST candidate at serial number 14. So, if a department has only six associate professor-level posts, one will go to an OBC and none will be reserved for SC and ST candidates.
Also, a department with only one professor cannot have reserved posts for this cadre under the 13-point roster since reservation cannot be applied in a single post. However, under the 200-point roster, posts of professors across different departments can be clubbed together, and there is a better chance of positions being set aside for SCs, STs, and OBCs.
According to an estimate by the government, under the 13-point roster, the total posts across SCs, STs and OBCs in 21 central universities will shrink from 2,663 to 1,241.