The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Allahabad High Court's order that said quota for scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST) and other backward classes (OBCs) in faculty positions should be department-wise and not in universities or colleges as a unit, according to media reports.
The high court order ruled that if a university is taken as a unit for reservation, some departments would end up having all reserved candidates and some having unreserved. This would lead to the violation of Article 14 that focuses on equality and Article 16 (equal opportunities in matters of employment).
However, the Centre and University Grants Commission (UGC) had challenged Allahabad HC's order saying the move could be detrimental to SCs, STs and OBCs' adequate representation in faculty positions. But, a bench led by Justice U U Lalit quashed Centre's petition challenging the April 2017 HC order.
Challenging the verdict, the Centre and UGC then moved SC saying it would be difficult to ensure 15 per cent reservation for SC, 7.5 per cent for ST and 27 per cent for OBCs as the number of vacancies was minimal if taken department-wise. It said the selection would end up getting delayed.
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Along the lines of Allahabad HC's order, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also argued that if vacancies are calculated department-wise, the purpose of reservation would be defeated as the number of seats for the reserved candidates would get reduced.
Later, Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan pointed to SC's January 2017 decision that upheld another Allahabad HC verdict of April 2009 saying "the rules of reservation and roster shall be applied college-wise and subject-wise when there is a plurality of post".
Allahabad HC's ruling had come after a petition questioned the Banaras Hindu University’s policy of following the roster system cadre-wise.