SC refuses to entertain plea against Ordinance on reservation for varsity faculty

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea challenging the Centre’s Ordinance which restored the roster-based reservation system for appointment of faculty members in higher educational institutions.

The pleas challenging the March 7 promulgation of The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019 came up for hearing before a Bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and Sanjiv Khanna.

The Bench told the counsels appearing for the petitioner to approach the High Court with the grievance.

“Why cannot you go to the High Court?” the Bench asked.

When one of the advocates said the issue will have ramification on entire country, the Bench said, “Parliament legislation applicable all over India can be dealt with by the high courts. We are on the issue of jurisdiction. Why have you come here first?”

Advocate Gopal Shankarnarayanan, appearing for petitioners, said the Ordinance tends to nullify the apex court’s order.

The top court in February dismissed the Centre’s plea seeking review of its earlier verdict by which it had declined to interfere with the decision of the Allahabad High Court on the crucial quota issue.

While dismissing the review petition, the apex court said that individual departments and not universities or colleges will be considered as a unit for implementing reservation for SC/ST or OBC in appointing faculties members.

On January 21, 2019 it had dismissed the appeals of the Centre and the University Grants Commission (UGC) against the order of Allahabad High Court which had ruled that quota for SC/ST or OBC in posts of faculty will be calculated department-wise and not college or university-wise.

During the hearing on March 25, when one of the advocates said that the matter was urgent as it involves constitutional issues, the Bench observed, “Every third matter here has a constitutional issue.”

The apex court allowed the petitioner to withdraw the plea and granted him liberty to approach the respective High Court.

As per the Ordinance, the new system will consider the university or college as one unit, instead of treating department or subject as one unit.

“The Cabinet has approved proposal for promulgation of The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019 to provide for the reservation of faculty in appointments by direct recruitment of persons belonging to Scheduled Castes [SC], Scheduled Tribes [ST] and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes [SEBL] in central educational institutions and for matters connected there with,” Union Minister Arun Jaitley had said at a press conference earlier this month.

The ordinance will ensure that constitutional provisions of reservation for SC, ST and SEBL in the faculty recruitment will be protected and current impasse in recruitment would be resolved.

A series of protests took place over the issue by various students’ and teachers’ organisations urging the government to bring an ordinance to restore the 200-point roster taking college or university as a unit for reservation in teaching posts.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) had announced last March that an individual department should be considered as the base unit to calculate the number of teaching posts to be reserved for the SC and ST candidates, following an order by the Allahabad High Court in April 2017.


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