The Supreme Court Tuesday upheld the order of the Allahabad High Court which ruled that reservation in faculty positions in universities should be calculated department-wise and not by taking the total seats in a university as basis.
Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who argued for the respondents supporting the high court order, pointed to the Supreme Court’s January 2017 decision that upheld another Allahabad high court verdict of April 2009, which also said that “the rules of reservation and roster shall be applied college-wise and subject-wise when there are plurality of post.”
A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Indira Banerjee rejected the Centre’s special leave petition which challenged the April 7, 2017 order of the Allahabad High Court.
The move is likely to slash SC/ST category recruitment in universities by 50-60%. Considering that reserved faculty posts go vacant in huge numbers, there are apprehensions that the department-wise quota will further shrink the representation of marginalised sections in the university system.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta questioned argued that State was obliged to make special provisions for reservation in appointments or posts in favour of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe community if they are not adequately represented in the State services.
The BJP-led Centre faced a Dalit backlash after the UGC, the higher education regulator, issued an order on March 5, 2018, asking all central, state and deemed universities getting grants-in-aid to implement reservations for SC/ST teacher posts department-wise, in keeping with an April 2017 Allahabad HC order.