Instead of simplifying admission procedures, they are being made complex in one of the prominent universities of India, the Delhi University, to prevent OBC students from getting enrolled. Simultaneously, the game of cut-off marks is also being played. It’s like a well-planned conspiracy, the victims of which are the OBC youth.
First, let’s see how this is being done. For instance, students are being made to submit various certificates and they are given limited time to do so. That’s not all. The certificates have to be compulsorily attested by officers at various levels. They also have to submit the income certificate for their entire family issued in the current financial year. Further, regarding the submission of the creamy layer certificate, it is being said that their application forms are valid only if the tehsildar or a higher administrative authority attests the certificate. This, even when it is well known that the creamy layer certificate is issued on the basis of income and it even bears the signature of the district magistrate concerned. What could be the motive behind this additional requirement other than to prevent the enrolment of OBC youths.
Another issue is the cut-off marks. In 2006, the issue of reservation in higher education came to the fore. The Supreme Court ordered the implementation of 27 per cent reservation with immediate effect. At the time, the universities threw a spanner in the works by claiming that the immediate implementation of 27 per cent reservation would require an increase in the number of seats. As a result, 9 per cent reservation was implemented in the universities for the first three years.
Going into the intricacies of this case, according to the Supreme Court’s order, OBC should get 27 per cent reservation in higher education. Universities implemented it in different ways. For example, one university reserved 27 per cent of the total seats for OBCs. Here, even the OBC youth who were in the merit list were enrolled under the OBC category. When such an arrangement was opposed, the Supreme Court ruled that the cut-off marks for the OBC category should be 10 per cent less than that for the General category. For example, if a university has set a cut-off mark of 90 per cent for the general category, it should be 80 per cent for OBCs. However, it was not followed.
We asked many students about their experience. Many such cases came to light where OBC students scoring higher than the cut-offs were still granted seats assigned for the OBC category. While it leads to a loss of seats of OBC quota, such OBC students despite, having scored good marks, have to live with the label “the student from the quota”. It is thus amply clear that the reservation rules are not being followed properly in the universities despite the Supreme Court order.
It is apparent that the manner in which the Delhi University management has set the condition is an undeclared “no-entry” for OBCs rather than the implementation of the Supreme Court order. The issue at hand is reservation. Those who speak up for the upper class argue that talent and not caste should open up opportunity and that caste-based reservations would promote the feeling of caste divisions.
Before debating whether to abolish or amend reservations in higher education, it is necessary to understand that reservation, while it appears to have been extended to a specific caste group, is based on socio-cultural and educational backwardness and its objective is not to eliminate poverty in the country or provide jobs. Instead of blaming the members of the reserved categories for depriving them of their rights, the poor and unemployed should ask for employment and economic support. We are witnessing that unemployment is soaring and educational institutions and jobs are handed over to the private sector, where reservation is implemented neither in education nor in jobs.
If the university administration is really serious about the interests of the SC, ST and OBC students, it should implement reservation in toto. As students, teachers and progressive intellectuals, it is our responsibility to strongly oppose the violation of the reservation rules wherever required and ensure that they are properly implemented. Instead of engaging in discriminatory and anti-egalitarian arguments around reforming or diluting the reservation system in such an environment, we need to ensure that the reservation system is properly and fully implemented and demand strict action against any negligence and arbitrariness in its implementation. Without the involvement of OBCs, Dalits, Tribals and minorities in higher education, the dream of an egalitarian democratic society will remain just that – a dream.
Translated by Devina Auchoybur
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