Published: 04th December 2020
Delhi HC pulls up JNU for de-reserving, exchanging SC, ST faculty positions
The High Court also directed the university to "revisit and re-examine the roster and recast the roster points, in accordance with the post-based reservation system
The Delhi High Court on Thursday held the Jawaharlal Nehru University responsible for de-reservation of two faculty positions that were not in accordance with the post-based reservation system.
This means that JNU is guilty og stripping the reserved category of one post and changing the reservation category from SC to ST of another post and so the HC quashed the two particular advertisements calling for applications. The single-judge bench of Justice Jyoti Singh said that the university was unable to satisfy the queries even after a series of affidavits and that they have to revisit and prepare the roster as per the post-based reservation policy. A Division Bench of the HC had earlier stayed the appointment in these two posts.
The first petitioner, Pradeep Shinde, is working as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies, School of Social Sciences in the university. The second petitioner is Tsetan Namgyal, an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Inner Asian Studies (Tibetian and Himalayan Studies) in the School of International Studies. They filed the case because they were concerned about irregularities in the recruitment process at JNU.
"In view of the unclear stand of the University, this Court has no option but to direct the University to revisit the issue and work out the roster points afresh with regard to post No 135 and post No 60," directed the judge.
The High Court also directed the university to "revisit and re-examine the roster and recast the roster points, if so warranted, "The said exercise shall be completed within three months from today," said the judge. "It is open to the University to initiate fresh recruitment process and advertise the two posts after the above exercise is completed," she added.
Calling out the university for making a "blatantly false statement" in the additional affidavit, the court said that JNU has not calculated the reservation properly and they did not treat the current vacancies and the backlog reserved vacancies as distinct and separate groups. The rule is to calculate reservation on total strength and not on the number of vacancies. "No attempt has been made to allocate specific reservations to vacant posts to make up the shortfall," said the court.
For example, if there were, for instance, 20 current vacancies arising in 2020. Let's also assume that there was a shortfall of 10 in the SC category while there was no shortfall in the ST or OBC categories. Due to the 50 per cent limit on current vacancies, only 10 seats could be reserved. All the 10 posts would have to be allocated in the SC category because they have a shortfall of 10.
Referring to the data provided by the petitioners which demonstrated that there was de-reservation of posts along with a change in reservation status of several more, the HC said that the burden of proving they were right fell on the university, "The petitioners have discharged their onus in providing the limited information they had received from the administrative statements and have made calculations collating the data based on the earlier rosters and advertisements."
The university had said that there was no loss in reserved seats but rather the seats were reallocated to other centres. But the judge felt that they had failed to prove that. "The burden to rebut and prove that the reservation rosters were correctly recast was on the University, which in my view, it has failed to discharge. Mere statements and denials that there has been no de-reservation or exchange of reservation points would not be enough for the University to rebut the data/tables placed on record by the Petitioners. The table extracted and referred to above, filed by the Petitioners have not been seriously controverted. The dicta of the Supreme Court is clear and binding. The reservation rosters have to be post-based and there cannot be an exchange of reservation points or de-reservation. The latter is permissible only in very exceptional cases and that too by following a very rigorous process. Ample opportunities were given to the University to file affidavits but despite a host of affidavits and written submissions, it was unable to demonstrate that the shifting of the points in the two Centres with which this petition is concerned was a mere result of interpolation resulting from recasting of the rosters as per the new OMs and/or the UGC Guidelines," added Justice Singh.
The JNUTA welcomed the decision and added that this not only vindicates the JNUTA's position but also "implicates not just the JNU VC but the Ministry of Education as well". "If the VC is guilty of the extremely serious offence of gross violation of reservation law and trying to cover it up with specious arguments in front of the court, the Ministry of Education must also be held accountable for its willful inaction despite being appraised by the JNUTA of the situation," said Dr Milap C Sharma, President of JNUTA, hoping that the ministry will take some action now that the court's findings are on record.