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Caste reservation for faculty appointments in IITs, its provision in the Constitution

Recent Activity on Reservation

Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) should be exempted from caste reservations for faculty appointments as they are institutes of national importance, proposes an expert panel appointed to recommend measures to better implement reservations at IITs.

In a report submitted to Rakesh Ranjan, additional secretary, department of higher education, Ministry of Education (MoE), on July 17, the committee proposed that the institutes be included in the list of ‘Institutes of Excellence’ which are exempted from caste-based reservations according to the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act (CEI Act) of 2019. The committee report, a copy of which has been accessed by HT, was recently released following a right to information (RTI) plea filed by an activist in Uttar Pradesh.

The eight-member committee was formed by the MoE in April to suggest measures for effective implementation of reservation rules in admission and faculty selection at IITs. V Ram Gopal Rao, director IIT-Delhi and chairperson of the committee, said the report was final and refused to comment further. “It has been submitted to the ministry,” he said.

“IITs ought to be listed under the Schedule to the CEI Act, 2019, for exemption from reservations,” the report stated. 

“To compete with other top institutions in the world in terms of excellence, output, research, and teaching, a system emphasizing targeted goals over a period of time, rather than specific quotas, to address diversity issues through outreach campaigns, targeted recruitment, etc., is recommended,” the report added.

What Is Reservation

Merriam-Webster says that Reservation is a: the act or an instance of reserving b: the setting of limiting conditions or withholding from complete exposition.

Reservation in general terms refers to a system or arrangement in which some resources or something is kept aside for use by some people only.

Reservation in India

Reservation is a system of affirmative action in India that provides historically disadvantaged groups representation in education, employment and politics.

Reservation in India is a government policy, backed by the Indian Constitution.

The existence of reservation in Indian constitution

The Constitution of India states in article 15(4). Nothing in [article15] or in clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the state from making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens of or the scheduled caste and the scheduled tribes.

Article 335 of our Constitution lays down that reservation should be consistent with the efficiency of administration.

The purpose of reservation in India

The two main aims to provide reservation as per the Constitution of India are:

Advancement of Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) OR any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens– Article 15 (4), Article 15 (5), and Article 15 (6),

Adequate representation of any backward class of citizens in the services under the State. – Article 16 (4) and Article 16 (6).

Misinterpretation: - {Reservation is on the basis of Economy; Reservation aims to remove poverty.}

Correction: - The purpose of the Constitution of India is never to look at reservation through the prism of the economy.

The purpose of reservation was to remove discrimination and not to end poverty.

Provision in Reservation

In India, reservation is provided in:

Government Educational Institutions– as per Article 15 – (4), (5), and (6)

Government Jobs– as per Article 16 – (4) and (6)

Legislatures– as per Article 334

The Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019.

This act inserted Articles 15(6) and 16(6) in the Constitution. This enables the State to provide the benefits of reservation on preferential basis to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) in civil posts and services in the Government of India and admission in Educational Institutions. Accordingly, the provision for 10% reservation to the EWS was implemented by the Government in January 2019.

“The similar state laws for EWS quota were quashed by Courts because there was no provision for economic reservation in the Constitution before. Now, the Law will not be struck down by the Supreme Court if challenged as it has been brought by making required provisions in the Constitution.” Said Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot while introducing the bill in 2019.

Exclusions in Reservation

There are no exclusions for SC/ST people.

For OBC's people in the following categories are not entitled to take advantage of the reservation system:

Children of officials in high office as per the Constitution

Children of civil servants in high positions.

Children of armed force officers of high rank.

Children of professionals and those engaged in trade and industry.

Children of property owners.

Children of people with annual income exceeding ₹8,00,000 (regarded as the "creamy layer").

Adverse effect of reservation

What we are looking for today is “a system emphasizing targeted goals over a period of time, rather than specific quotas, to address diversity issues through outreach campaigns, targeted recruitment, etc.” as stated by the committee in its report stated above. It is emphasizing that the reservation lacks the above requirements. And this is the biggest adverse effect of reservation.

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