The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lower House by Human Resource Development Ministry on June 27, 2019. It substitutes an Ordinance that was introduced on March 7, 2019. The Bill provides for reservation of teaching positions in central educational institutions for persons belonging to:
- economically weaker sections
- Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes
- socially and educationally backward classes,
Key features of the bill
- Reservation of posts:
The Bill provides for reservation of posts in direct recruitment of teachers in central educational institutions. For such a reservation, a central educational institution will be considered as one unit. This implies that the allocation of teaching posts for reserved categories would be done on the basis of all positions of the same level (i.e. assistant professor) across departments. Note that, under previous guidelines, each department was considered as an individual unit for the purpose of reservation.
- Exceptions and coverage :
The Bill will apply to ‘Central Educational Institutions’ which include universities established by Acts of Parliament, institutions considered to be a university, institutions of national importance, and institutions receiving aid from the union government. However, it excludes certain institutions of excellence, minority education institutions, institutions of national and strategic importance, and research institutions which have been listed in the Schedule to the Bill.
- Allow more than 7000 existing vacancies in Central Educational Institutions and pave the way for filling up three lakh vacancies in the Government educational institutions by direct recruitment in Teacher’s Cadre.
- Ensure compliance of the Constitutional Provisions of Articles 14, 16 and 21.
- This decision is also anticipated to improve the teaching standards in the higher educational institutions by attracting all eligible talented candidates belonging SCs/STs/SEBCs/EWS.
Understanding Reservation in Teacher Cadre system
A position in the list for any reserved group is reached by dividing 100 by the percentage of the quota that the group is entitled to.
For example, the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota is 27% — therefore, they get 100/27 = 3.7,
that is, every 4th post for which a vacancy arises.
Scheduled Caste (SCs), likewise, get every 100/15 = 6.66, that is, every 7th post,
and Scheduled Tribes (STs) get 100/7.5 = 13.33, that is, every 14th vacancy.
Thus, the lower the percentage of reservation provided to a category, the longer it will take for a candidate from that category to be appointed to a reserved post.
13/200 Point roster
As per the formula for determining reserved posts, it is only after 13.33 positions (14 in the round figure) are filled that every reserved category gets at least one post. The expression “13-point roster” reflects the fact that 13.33 (or 14) vacancies need to complete one cycle of reservations. Based on this, every 4th, 7th, 8th, 12th, and 14th vacancies are reserved for OBCs, SCs, OBCs, OBCs, STs respectively in the 13-point roster.
- there is no reservation for the first three positions and,
- even in the full cycle of 14 positions, only five posts — or 35.7% — go to the reserved categories, which is well short of the constitutionally mandated ceiling of 49.5% (27% + 15% + 7.5%).
The new 10% quota for the economically weaker sections (EWS) has broadened this gap further. This is because every 10th post (100/10 = 10) is now reserved for EWS — which means six reserved seats in every cycle of 14, or 42.8% reservation when the ceiling is 59.5% (49.5% + 10%).
There is another problem, which created the current controversy. In smaller departments, say, those with fewer than four teachers, the 13-point roster — in which reservation kicks in only with the 4th vacancy — allows a conditions in which representation to reserved categories can be denied altogether. And they can nominate five teachers from the ‘general category’ against only one from a reserved category (OBC). So, to provide the constitutionally mandated 49.5% reservation, the University Grants Commission began to treat the university/college as a ‘unit’ and adopted what is called the ‘200-point roster’, which was already being used by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for appointments in all union government services.
It is called ‘200-point’ since all reserved categories can get their constitutionally mandated quantum of reservation once 200 seats are filled. And since no single department in an institution can have 200 seats, it made sense to treat the whole institution/university as the ‘unit’ to reckon the quota.
Is 200 point roster is right?
It is better than the 13-point roster. While the 13-point roster falls far short of the mandated percentage of reservation, the 200-point roster permits for it, provided exactly 200 appointments are made. The reservation falls short even here if the number of appointments is either less or more than 200. What makes the 200-point roster more effective in ensuring the broad goal of 49.5% reservations is the fact that the quota deficit in one department can be made up by another.
Controversey on 200 point roster
The 200-point system of implementing reservations was adopted by all central universities by 2014. In April 2017, Allahabad High Court struck down the 200-point roster, saying “If the University is taken as a ‘Unit’ for every level of teaching and applying the roster, it could result in some departments/subjects having only unreserved candidates and some having all reserved candidates.”
The Supreme Court upheld this decision that on March 5, 2018, the UGC notified changes to its guidelines, directing universities to treat the department, rather than the college, or university as the ‘unit’, thus bringing back the 13-point system. Following controversy, the Centre moved a Special Leave Petition in the SC in April. The court turned down the petition in January 2019. So the Cabinet cleared an ordinance to bring back the 200-point roster, but the ordinance was challenged in court the very next day.