"The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers' Cadre) Bill, 2019" has been passed by both the houses of Parliament. The bill is to treat 'University/ College' as the unit of reservation roster for teaching posts instead of 'Department/ Subject' overturning the impact of the Supreme Court decision which had directed for reservation in teaching posts to be applied subject-wise. Clause 3 of the Bill nullifies the effect of all such judgments.
The Bill defines "teachers’ cadre" to mean "class of all teachers of a Central Education Institution, regardless of the branch of study or faculty, who are remunerated at the same grade of pay, excluding any allowance or bonus".
The Bill is applicable to 'central educational institutions'. Universities set up by Acts of Parliament, institutions deemed to be a university, institutions of national importance, and institutions receiving aid from the central government are included. The Bill exempts reservations to institutions notified in its schedule as ‘Institutions of Excellence’. It will take effect from March 7, 2019 after receiving the assent of President Ram Nath Kovind.
The Allahabad High Court had in its judgment dated April 7, 2017 in Vivekanand Tiwari v Union of India held that for reservations in teaching posts in Universities, subject/discipline is to be taken as the unit instead of university. This judgment was challenged before the Supreme Court and on January 22nd a bench of Justices U U Lalit and Indira Banerjee had dismissed the appeal by the Ministry of Human Resources Department. Review petitions filed by the Centre and the UGC were also dismissed.
Clause 6(c) of the UGC guidelines dated 25/08/2006 required all posts under a University to be grouped together for the purposes of reservation. According to Clause 8(a)(v), similarity of pay-scale was the determinative factor for determining the cadre. The Allahabad High Court had quashed both these clauses which prescribed the manner of applying reservations for SC/ST/OBC in teaching posts.
The HC had observed “There is no intense competition between the teachers in the same level of different subjects. Their competition is with candidates of their subject/department and not of different subjects". The HC also observed “The teachers of each subject or the department are placed in the same pay-scale but their services are neither transferable nor they are in competition with each other. It is for this reason also that clubbing of the posts for the same level treating the University as a 'Unit' would be completely unworkable and impractical.”
However, there was widespread apprehension that applying subject wise quota in lecturer posts will reduce the scope of reservation especially for departments with single posts. There was a better chance of positions being set apart for SCs, STs, and OBCs if the University was taken as a unit and posts of all teachers were clubbed together.