UP’s new quota policy for university teachers has become a hurdle for reserved categories
It has become difficult for reserved category candidates to get a job in state universities in Uttar Pradesh, courtesy a new reservation policy by the government. Several universities across the state have not hired members from reserved categories since 2016 due to the change in the hiring process that has been put in place by the state government.
The vertical reservation for universities according to the Uttar Pradesh Public Services Reservation Act of 1994 states that 50.5% of seats for teaching positions i.e. Professor, Assistant Professor and Associate Professor, will be reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) category. Out of the 50.5% reservation in Uttar Pradesh, 27.5% of seats are reserved for OBCs, 21% for SCs and 2% for STs. Prior to the new order, each university was looked at as a unit and the hiring for vacancies were done while ensuring that the overall the allotted percentage for reserved categories was maintained.
However, a letter by the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh dated 19 February, 2016 to all state universities said that reservations will be made department-wise as opposed to university-wise. The letter specifically mentions that if there are 3 or less than 3 vacancies in a department, none of the positions will be reserved.
It further says that in the case of 4 vacancies within a department, 1 seat will be reserved for OBC category and in the case of 5 vacancies, 1 seat each will be reserved for OBC and SC categories. There is no mention of reserved ST seats in the letter.
This means that institutions can use this loophole to prevent candidates from reserved categories from getting recruited. For instance hypothetically, if a university advertises for vacancies in batches of three, it would not have to recruit a single reserved candidate. Furthermore, there would be an ST reserved position only if 50 vacancies are advertised in one go, which doesn’t happen very frequently.
Pramod Kumar Shukla, an assistant professor of Sociology at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University has been alleging outright discrimination in the hiring since the university released advertisements for applications last year. Shukla addressed three letters to the Prime Minister of India last year stating the discrimination in the hiring process in Gorakhpur University.
“There are two things that have happened since the universities received the new order from the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh in 2016. One, the vertical reservation in universities has been changed. Instead of looking at the universities as a unit where allotted percentage for reserved category was to be maintained, the government has now decided to take departments as a unit. By that calculation, 1 seat will be given to an OBC category candidate if there are 4 vacancies. 1 seat will be reserved for SC category if there are more than 5 vacancies. And there is no mention of ST category at all,” he told Catch.
“The second thing that happened is that horizontal reservation for the physically handicapped, ex-servicemen, dependents of Kargil martyrs and dependents of freedom fighters has been completely eliminated in the new hiring process. The law says that 4% of seats must be reserved for physically handicapped. But that has not happened at all. I wrote several letters to the University, the higher education department of the state, the chief minister, the Prime Minister and well as the President. The response I got from the university was that there weren’t enough vacancies to accommodate physically handicapped and ST categories. The new order is a gross violation of the constitution and is punishable by law.”
Shukla says he now plans to file a petition in the Allahabad High Court. “Since the university is not complying with the law and the state government does not seem to want to reverse the new policy which is highly discriminatory in nature, the only way is to approach the Allahabad High Court. This policy is detrimental to our social construct of the state.”
The University closed its hiring process late last year. Out of the 43 vacancies for Associate Professor, only 1 seat was allotted to OBC category and only 4 seats were allotted to SC category. In the case of 140 Assistant professor vacancies, 31 seats went to SC and 34 went to OBC category. However, in the case of 30 vacancies for post of Professor, all 30 seats went to the general category. Subsequently, other state universities like Allahabad University and Siddharth University have also released advertisements for applications that have little or no seats reserved for OBC and SC categories. ST and physically handicapped reservations have not been mentioned at all."
The Vice-Chancellor of Deen Dayal Gorakhpur University Professor VK Singh told Catch, “All universities are releasing numbers based on the state government’s policy. There is no discrimination or violation. In the case of not having reserved seats for the physically challenged, there were no more vacancies left in the departments after releasing seats for Unreserved, OBC and SC seats. And there is very little representation of (STs) in Uttar Pradesh. There isn’t anything we could have done.”
However, the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission that released advertisement for applications in October 2017, invited applications from OBCs, SCs, STs, Handicapped, Dependents of Freedom Fighters and ex-servicemen categories.
Shukla said, “If the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission has allotted seats for both vertical and horizontal reservation categories, why couldn’t we have the same for state universities? This is shocking.”
Other state Universities like Lucknow University and Jhansi University have also filled their vacancies with little reserved seats. No seats were allotted for physically handicapped or other horizontal category applicants.”