The union government has set up an inter-ministerial panel, headed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman, to examine the feasibility of filing a review petition in the Supreme Court against the Allahabad High Court order that struck down the UGC formula of calculating reservation in faculty positions based on the total posts in a university.
In response to the Allahabad High Court order of April 2017, which was subsequently upheld by the apex court, the UGC, on March 5, had announced a new formula to implement reservation in faculty positions that would, eventually, reduce the number of SC, ST and OBC teachers in higher education.
According to the new formula, which was first reported by The Indian Express on October 23, 2017, reservation in faculty positions will be calculated department-wise and not based on the total posts in a university.
In a meeting held with senior officers of the HRD Ministry, law ministry, social justice and empowerment and tribal affairs ministries on Monday, the parliamentary panel on welfare of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes is learnt to have expressed concern over the impact the new formula would have on the number of teachers employed from the SC and ST communities.
The panel advised the government to set up a committee to examine the feasibility of filing a review petition in SC, following which a committee headed by UGC chairman DP Singh, with representatives from law ministry, department of personnel and training and social justice and empowerment ministry, has been constituted by the government.
Currently, the number of SC, ST, OBC faculty positions are calculated by treating the university as a “unit”. In other words, all posts of the same grade, such as assistant professor, across different departments in a university are grouped or clubbed together to calculate the reserved quota.
Under the new UGC formula, reservation would be applied by treating each department in a university as a “unit”. This means the number of reserved posts at the level of, say, assistant professor will be determined separately for each department; calculated, based on the total assistant professor posts in each department.
So, a department with only one professor cannot have reserved posts as reservation cannot be applied in case of a single teaching position. But if all posts of professors across different departments are clubbed together, then there is a better chance of positions being set aside for SC, ST and OBC.