Vol. XLIII No. 04 January 27, 2019

DTF Demands Ordinance on the Reservation Roster

THE Supreme Court has, on January 22, 2019, dismissed the special leave petition filed by the union government against the Allahabad High Court order that had struck down the college/university wise reservation roster. The Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF), in a statement issued on January 22, has said that this has exposed the government’s opportunistic and insincere attitude towards reservation policy meant for the underprivileged sections of the society.

The government had filed the special leave petition (SLP) half-heartedly only after the DUTA and many other organisations protested against the UGC notification dated March 5, 2018 that directed universities to switch to department/subject-wise roster. They reminded the government about the UGC directive of 2006 to switch from department/subject as unit of reservation roster to university/college as a unit as the former had slowed down the fulfillment of reservation percentages drastically due to the small size of departments/ subjects in universities and colleges, defeating the spirit underlying the reservation provisions. Mouthing commitment to the principle underlying the 2006 directive, the government filed the SLP and stayed appointments on the basis of the March 5, 2018 notification. However, the government has reneged on the repeated promises made by the minister of HRD of bringing an ordinance/ bill in parliament. After all, it is the same government that now has shown unprecedented haste in bringing in 10 per cent EWS quota in jobs and 25 per cent increase in admissions without ascertaining infrastructural capacity and teacher requirement. Serious policies have been reduced to electoral ploys without regard for quality of education or provision of relief to the actual poor.

For over 4000 teachers working in the University of Delhi for long years in adhoc capacity, whose appointment is renewed every four months, a change in reservation roster would change the nature of each post. This would lead to reserved posts becoming unreserved, unreserved posts becoming reserved and also different reserved posts changing categories: a chaotic scenario with mass dislocation and loss of jobs.

Many of these young teachers who have kept teaching-learning and examination/evaluation going under extremely trying, insecure and exploitative conditions, will be faced with loss of livelihood. Such dislocation would also adversely affect the teaching-learning process and functioning of the university and its colleges. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that such mass displacement and academic mayhem does not take place.

The DTF has demanded an immediate promulgation of an ordinance on the reservation roster to retain the existing roster on the basis of which the non-permanent teachers are working and issue a UGC regulation for a one-time regularisation/absorption of these teachers.