Faculty members of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), belonging to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category, are disappointed with the varsity denying them their constitutional right of representation in higher education. As many as 203 teaching posts for OBCs went “missing" with nil recruitments in the category whereas appointments for positions in the general category were enhanced by the university, revealed a data by BHU in reply to an RTI filed by Nagpur-based activist Sanjay Thul.
The OBC teachers demanded clarification from the university on the increase in number of appointments for the general category. Teachers and scholars belonging to the reserved category also wrote to the National Commission of Backward Classes (NCBC) stating that OBCs were facing injustice in appointment to teaching posts in BHU despite Varanasi being the constituency of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an OBC leader. The RTI analysed and sent by the teachers to the commission was also shared with the media.
203 Posts “Missing"
According to information obtained by Thul, out of 568 positions across teaching categories for the backward classes, 203 posts were “missing" or had been removed. The data showed shortfall of 203 in OBC appointments whereas 137 appointments were falling short for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category. However, extra 340 posts were made available for the general category.
As many as 36 out of the 61 sanctioned posts for Professors, 93 out of 135 sanctioned posts for Associate Professors, and 74 out of 372 sanctioned posts for Assistant Professors had also been removed, the teachers said in their letter to the commission, elaborating further on the numbers. The number of OBC seats filled (224) was added to the number of vacant seats (141) and the sum (365) was subtracted from the sanctioned 568 seats to find 203 seats missing for the category.
Similarly, the teachers also calculated seats for the General category where 95 posts were sanctioned for Professors but 130 posts were filled while and 14 were still vacant. For the post of Associate Professor, there were 204 seats sanctioned but 319 seats were filled while 13 lay vacant. 560 seats were sanctioned for the post of Assistant Professor but filled 630 posts were filled and 93 were vacant.
“General category is occupying extra 340 posts," the teachers observed in their note to the media after calculating the number by adding the sum of filled and vacant posts and subtracting it with the total sanctioned posts.
“Not Found Suitable” option used for denying posts to OBCs
Speaking on behalf of the teachers of the University, that does not have a teachers’ representative body for years now, Professor in the Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Mahesh Ahirwar said that a complaint was filed by OBC teachers with the national commission of backward classes. The complaint stated that no action was taken against the authorities who denied opportunities to the able OBC candidates.
“Banaras Hindu University is the central university in the country where the representation of the OBCs, SCs and STs is not realised quite like other universities. This has been happening for many years. The authorities deny them appointment by considering the candidates as ineligible for the job. Many of them are called for an interview and are then declared Not Found Suitable (NFS)," Ahirwar said.
“Candidates from reserved castes are called for an interview but denied opportunities in various departments like – Arthshastra, Kala Itihas, Hindi, Darshan Shastra, Rasayan Vigyan department," he said, narrating an example of the Philosophy department where 42 eligible candidates were considered for the vacant posts but only 12 were called for an interview where they were declared NFS. Similar situation also prevailed in Institute for Medical Sciences and Sanskrit Vidya Dharam Vigyan of the university where authorities denied opportunities to its own gold medal list.
“The authorities have to explain why 203 seats are missing in OBC, 137 in EWS and explain 340 extra appointments made in the General category. There has not been a response to our queries for years," he said. The total of 203 and 137 is 340 (extra in general category), which makes the teachers more persistent in getting the answers from the administration to explain where did the missing numbers go.
There were no missing numbers for appointments in the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) categories, showed the RTI data, though the momentum of appointments in the two categories were slow.
Pointing out that because reservation in higher education was already in force for the SC/STs, and teachers were constantly struggling to implement it, Ahirwar said, “The process of appointments in SC/ST continued even if its momentum was slow." In contrast, the reservation of OBC was announced at Assistant Professor level in 2007 and not much interest was taken in filling seats for OBCs, he added.
News18.com tried to contact Registrar of the university Niraj Tripathi and spokesperson Rajesh Kumar but did not receive any response.
BHU abided by the policy of “Reservation provided as per government of India instructions guidelines", the varsity said in its reply to a query regarding the affirmative policy followed by the institutions.