Published: 01st July 2020
Disinterested approach towards OBC students: NCBC slams DU for discriminatory application form pricing
The NCBC has recommended that the University reschedule their fee structure for the OBC (NC) category and the same be equal to the fee as applicable for the EWS category
After several students, activists and OBC bodies raised objections to Delhi University pricing their application fees at the same rate for OBC and unreserved students, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) has written to Delhi University to revise the rates. The NCBC has also asked the Vice Chancellor to postpone the date of the submission of caste certificates for the OBCs because of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The NCBC said that the actions of the University shows that they have a ‘disinterested approach towards the OBC community’, “This action is a form of discrimination, with a view to create artificial barriers to stop the OBC community getting enrolled in higher education." The body said that as per the powers conferred on them by the Constitution, they had decided to investigate the matter and have demanded the following information from the administration — whether the entrance fee for OBC candidates is fair in comparison to Economically Weaker Section candidates, while both categories have same annual income limit of Rs 8 lakh.
The Commission was responding to a letter by an OBC candidate by seeking a report from the University. The NCBC has recommended that the University reschedule their fee structure for the OBC (NC) category and the same be equal to the fee as applicable for the EWS category.
The Delhi University in its application forms notice this year had charged OBC students the same rate as unreserved students while SC, ST, Persons with Disability and EWS students were charged much lesser. Many organisations and students were infuriated by the fact that the University had not recognised that the OBC community was socially and economically backward and cannot be held on par with students from the unreserved category. And also raised objections to EWS students being held on par with SC,ST students while not doing the same for OBC students. Activists pointed out that a large section of the community were still systematically discriminated against and still don’t have access to education and employment.
The NCBC also questioned the University about their demand for OBC candidates (NC) to upload their caste certificates by March 31, 2020 when the whole country was reeling under lockdown. “Despite the fact that the whole nation is going through government notified lockdown since March 24 due to COVID-19, the notification was issued. This is also to note that the time required to get issued this certificate takes minimum 14 to 30 working days depending upon the State of Residence,” the NCBC said in its letter.
The Commission has now recommended that the rule for uploading OBC(NC) certificates be the same as applicable to other reserved categories. “In light of the above, you are advised to take necessary steps to provide a full and fair report on the entrance fee as per notification and uploading of certificate within seven days from the date of the receipt of this letter,” Dr Madhumala Chattopadhyay, the joint director of the NCBC said.
According to the notice from the Delhi University, registration fee for UG for OBC students was Rs 250 while for SC, ST, PwD, EWS students was Rs 100. For post graduate courses, it is Rs 750 for OBC while the SC, ST, PwD and EWS students was Rs 300. For the post graduate diploma course, it was Rs 2000 for OBCs and Rs 1500 for the other reserved categories. JNU student group BAPSA say they had also written to the Vice Chancellor of the University last year when the charges were similar and claimed that the years before that the OBC students were being charged the same as the students from other reserved categories.
The All India OBC Federation that also wrote to the NCBC and the University of Delhi thanked the Commission for taking immediate steps to address the issue, “It is requested that the associations working in the University of Delhi for the welfare of OBCs to kindly keep a watch on the developments and report the matter to the NCBC in case of any delay from the University on this matter,” the General Secretary of the AIOBCF, G Karunanidhy said.