Lok Sabha on July 1, 2019, passed a bill that proposed to make university or college as a unit instead of the department for the purpose of providing reservation for filling teachers posts in central educational institutions.
The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill 2019, will allow filling about 8,000 existing vacancies in 41 central universities and also provides 10 percent reservation for economically weaker sections, was introduced to replace an ordinance issued in March this year.
A resolution moved by the Congress leader Adhir Rajan Chowdhury to refer the bill to the standing committee was rejected by the House.
HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said the bill will give a major push to reforms in the education sector, making it inclusive and fulfilling aspirations of people from different categories
Congress questions the urgency of the issuing
During the debate, opposition members demanded that the Bill be referred to the Standing Committee for a comprehensive review.
Congress leader Adhir Rajan Chowdhury said his party is not opposed to the contents of the Bill but questioned the urgency of issuing an ordinance days before announcement of Lok Sabha elections.
“I would oppose invocation of ordinance, this kind of arbitrary invocation of ordinance does not augur well for vibrant democracy,” Chowdhury said.
The Minister said the ordinance was issued as the Supreme Court declined to consider the government view and rejected a review petition
Emergence of the teacher reservation issue
The issue emerges from an April 2017 Allahabad High Court order, in which it said that for the purpose of reservation for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes in universities, an individual department should be considered as the base unit to calculate the number of teaching posts to be reserved. The order was challenged in the Supreme Court, which upheld the HC order. A review petition filed by the HRD Ministry in February this year was also dismissed by the apex court.
This led to massive protests from teachers and students across the country as it was feared the new system would lower the numbers of reserved seats in universities.
In March, the Cabinet cleared an ordinance on reservation mechanism for appointment of faculties in universities in order to overturn the HC and SC orders.
Describing this Bill as the beginning of new era in the country’s education sector, Ramesh Pokhriyal said, This proposed legislation shows the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s commitment for the welfare of the last man in the queue. He also said that those opposing the Bill had exposed their lack of commitment to welfare of backward in society.
While moving the Bill for passage, Pokhriyal said it aims to provide for reservation of posts in appointments by direct recruitment of person belonging to the SC, ST, Socially and Economically Backward Classes and EWS to teachers’ cadre in certain Central Education Institutions.
He informed the House that there is also provision of 10 percent reservation for EWS in this Bill.
Observing that reservation in the past was only given to socially and educationally backward sections and never to economically backward classes, A Raja (DMK) demanded that 10 percent reservation of EWS should be kept in abeyance and the Bill should be sent to a Parliamentary Committee for scrutiny.
The Bill will reiterate the government’s commitment towards reservation and to give equal opportunity to all as per the Constitution. This bill will give enough scope and opportunities in higher education sector in the country.
The Bill will help fill about 7,000 existing vacancies in 41 Central universities. It aims to provide for reservation in appointments by direct recruitment of persons belonging to the SC, ST, Socially and Economically Backward Classes and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) to the teachers’ cadre in certain Central Education Institution.
Provisions of the Bill:
The Bill will make University a unit, rather than a department, for the purpose of providing reservation in teachers’ positions in Central educational institutions.
The Bill also has provision for 10% reservation for Economically Weaker Section (EWS). The government has already approved allocation of ₹770 crore for reservation for EWS.