The All India Action Committee to Save Reservation has announced a protest march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar on 15 March 2018. The protest march, scheduled to begin at 11am, will be held in light of the circular issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) directing central universities to replace the 200-point roster system with a 13-point roster system in ascertaining reserved teaching positions. The 200-point roster treats entire colleges and universities as units, while the 13-point roster is drawn up for individual departments.
What the 13-point roster does is drastically reduce the chances of someone from the historically disadvantaged sections of society – the Scheduled Tribes, the Scheduled Castes and the Other Backward Castes – to be selected for a teaching position. Manuvad (or casteism), which denied opportunities to these sections for centuries, seems to be rearing its head again after the briefest of lapses. The timeline below shows how the UGC, the university administrations and Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) have been dragging their feet since the Supreme Court made the 200-point roster mandatory through an order in 1995.
1995: Supreme Court mandates 200-point roster
2006: The UGC formulates guidelines for the 200-point roster
2013: Delhi University implements the 200-point roster
April 2017: Allahabad High Court strikes down the 2006 UGC guidelines
September 2017: MHRD asks UGC to reconsider the guidelines
March 2018: UGC send outs a circular to change rosters
After more than two decades – spanning three Congress governments, a socialist United Front government and two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led governments – of dragging their feet on the matter, these bodies overseeing higher education in the country have decided to give their feet some rest. The UGC circular that withdrew the 200-point roster system hinges itself on an order passed by the Allahabad High Court in April 2017, quashing the implementation of the 200-point roster in Banaras Hindu University.
In his column in the Indian express, Economist Bhalchandra Mungekar wrote that this change in the roster system “would defeat the very purpose of the reservation policy”.
The Academic Forum for Social Justice, Delhi University, has urged everyone to join the protest march. The forum said in a press release, “Given the conspiracy to sabotage reservation in the teaching posts in higher education, we have to rise in unison and struggle for defending social justice, so that the underprivileged sections of our society get their constitutionally guaranteed rights.”
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