Cabinet Brings Ordinance to Restore 200-point-roster
Following relentless protests, the BJP government was finally brought to its knees in the final Cabinet meeting before the dissolution of the Lok Sabha. Giving interim relief to the students, teachers and Dalit and Adivasi rights groups, the Cabinet today approved Human Resource Development Ministry’s proposal to introduce an ordinance that will restore the 200-point roster for faculty reservation in universities.
This ordinance would mean that the university will be considered one unit for the appointment of the faculty members, and the quota for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes would remain act intact.
“It is a phenomenal victory for the joint movement against this government. We have been fighting for the overturning of this decision for almost a year now,” said Abha Dev Habib of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA).
She added, “Data has shown that amongst over 700 appointments, only two per cent of the positions were reserved for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Communities. On the basis of this data, the University Grants Commission had implemented the 200-point roster system in 2006.”
Speaking to Newsclick, Apeksha Priyadarshini, a student from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, representing Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Student Organisation (BASO) said, “This is a very important victory for all justice-loving people, as it clearly shows how any powerful regime fears the uniting of the oppressed voices. But this victory will not be complete until effective implementation of this ordinance in all the universities.”
Habib told Newsclick, “We will keep building pressure on this government to ensure that this gets converted into a bill now.”
The ordinance is being seen as a temporary relief, as it is set to lapse after six months. The 13-point roster had triggered anxieties among multiple sections of the society because of its casteist and exclusionary nature.
On Tuesday, Dalit and Adivasi groups had taken to the streets of Delhi, demanding promulgation of an ordinance that will overturn the 13-point roster system. Following this, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar had said that an ordinance will be brought in to ensure that the 200-point roster system is restored. The ordinance also directed recruitment for 5,000 vacancies in the teachers’ cadre, the Centre said.
Under the 200-point roster system, it was ensured that out of every 200 posts, 99 posts remained reserved for SC, ST, and OBC communities, and 101 posts were unreserved. This made sure – provided that 200 appointments were made in the entire college or university – that all the reserved categories were given earmarked number of seats across various departments. This system meant that a deficit of reserved seats in one department could be compensated by more people from the reserved communities in other departments, therefore ensuring constitutionally mandated reservation.
In April 2017, the Allahabad High Court had said that the 200-point roster system was faulty, and had directed implementation of the new 13-point roster. Under this new system, instead of the entire college or university, each department was considered as one unit, and posts were reserved by taking into account all teaching positions – professors, associate professors, and assistant professors. According to the court, the previous roster could mean that distribution of reserved positions would be uneven across departments, resulting in some departments having all the reservations, and some departments only having unreserved candidates.
Teachers and students have been consistently marching, calling the roster unconstitutional and casteist and something that could perhaps alter the very fabric of higher education system by limiting accessibility for marginalised sections.
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