Teachers' associations at Delhi University (DU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Thursday welcomed the government decision to bring an ordinance on reservation mechanism for appointment of faculties in universities. Earlier Thursday, Union minister Arun Jaitley said the Cabinet has cleared an ordinance on the matter. Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar earlier this week said the Centre was committed to restoring the reservation roster in educational institutions following a series of protests on the issue by various students' and teachers' organisations.
They had been urging the government to bring an ordinance to restore the 200-point roster taking college or university as a unit for reservation in teaching posts.
The Delhi University Teachers' Association said the "overdue cabinet decision" to bring in a law through an ordinance to restore the college/department-wise 200-point roster is a victory.
"It is a victory for the principled struggle of the DUTA, the principled struggles carried on by various groups for social justice and inclusive education and the coming together of all of us notwithstanding differences of opinion in joint actions," it said.
It was the timely opposition and protests by the DUTA and many other organisations following the March 5, 2018 notification which forced the government to admit that the department/subject wise roster was unjust and to take belated legal action.
"For almost a year, however, it refused to act on its promise to bring an ordinance. This led to stoppage of permanent appointment in DU and other universities while the government remained an insensitive bystander. The campaign and protests which engaged the students, research scholars and those concerned about education and social justice created public opinion that was difficult for the government to ignore," DUTA said.
Jawaharlal Nehru Teachers' Association president Atul Sood said the ordinance was a "timely measure".
"It is a correction to a historical and social justice blunder. It has come in time otherwise the loss of jobs would have been high. The government has to ensure that such a thing does not happen again. It took more than a year to correct the blunder that was caused," he said.
Reacting to the cabinet's decision, DU professor and Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha said, "We stand vindicated".
"This regime waited to bring in the ordinance for so long. Had the several groups not given a call for Bharat Bandh on March 5, I doubt that they would have brought this ordinance in probably the last cabinet meeting. HRD Minister Javadekar had said on February 8 that they would bring in an ordinance within 24 hours if their review petition was rejected by the Supreme Court but they waited for so long," he told PTI.
Mr Jha said incidents like the Rohith Vemula suicide, dilution of SC/ST Act, gives us a full circle view that this government has an 'anti-social mindset'.
The RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also welcomed the ordinance.
The University Grants Commission had announced in March last year that an individual department should be considered as the base unit to calculate the number of teaching posts to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates, following an order by the Allahabad High Court in April 2017.
The Supreme Court had last month dismissed a review petition filed by the HRD Ministry after its special leave petition against the court order was rejected by the apex court.
Mr Javadekar had said in the Lok Sabha on February 11 that the government can "bring an ordinance if its review petition filed in the top court is rejected".
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