Legislation to overcome the effects of court verdicts is not always a good idea. However, sometimes an exception ought to be made in the larger public interest. One such law is the Centre’s Bill to ensure that reservation for scheduled castes, tribes and other backward classes in appointments to central educational institutions is preserved.
Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019
The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019, passed by the Lok Sabha, replaces an ordinance promulgated in March. Its main object is to restore the system of treating an institution or a university as a single unit to apply the reservation roster, and thus help fill 7,000 teaching vacancies.
What did the judiciary say?
It seeks to get around a 2017 judgment of the Allahabad High Court striking down University Grants Commission regulations that treated the institution as the unit for determining the roster, and directing that each department be the relevant unit. In short, reservation should be department-wise, and not institution-wise, the court ruled. The Supreme Court rejected the Centre’s appeal against the order.
Rationale by judiciary
The High Court noted that having the whole institution as a unit would result in some departments having only reservation beneficiaries and others only those from the open category.
Rationale behind bill
But the narrower basis for applying quotas would mean fewer aspirants from OBC and SC/ST sections would be recruited as assistant professors. In the interest of social justice, it had to restore the system of having a wider pool of posts in which the quotas of 27% for OBC, 15% for SC and 7.5% ST could be effectively applied. From this perspective, the Bill provides welcome relief for aspirants from the disadvantaged sections of society.