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Centre Plans Bill in Budget Session to Extend Reservation to Higher Education Private Institutions

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar clarified that 'all reservations — for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and for economically weaker sections of the general category — will be introduced in private institutions'.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:January 17, 2019, 10:55 AM IST
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Centre Plans Bill in Budget Session to Extend Reservation to Higher Education Private Institutions
File photo of Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar.
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New Delhi: The Human Resource Development ministry is planning to introduce a Bill in the upcoming budget session for implementation of reservation for SC/ST/OBC and EWS in higher education private institutions.

On Tuesday, while announcing the 10% EWS reservation in general category in private and public institutions, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar clarified that “all reservations — for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and for economically weaker sections of the general category — will be introduced in private institutions from July”.

Social justice expert PS Krishnan has written to HRD ministers from Kapil Sibal to Smriti Irani and also Javadekar on the urgency and importance of legislation for reservation in private higher education institutions.

Krishnan said if the Bill is in the offing, the government will have to make two separate laws — one for SC/ST/OBC reservations in higher education public institutions and EWS in general category.

This is because the 93rd amendment inserted new clause 5 in Article (15) according to which, reservation can be laid down for a private sector institution by a law. “The government will have to make law in terms of clause 5 Article 15 to extend reservations for SC/ST/OBC in higher education private institutions. This is long overdue legislation for SC/ST/BC for admission to seats in private institutions. SC upheld the constitutional validity on various occasions,” Krishnan said.

The true purpose of clause (5) was to bring private professional and other higher educational institutions within the ambit of reservation. But the government at that stage moved for reservation only in government and aided institutions. “The true purpose of the new Clause (5) has remained unimplemented for long now,” Krishnan wrote to HRD ministers.

He added that for EWS category, there has to be a separate law and “the two legislations should not be mixed up”. He added, “By the 103rd Amendment Act recently enacted, there is similar provision for EWS providing 10% reservations in higher education public institutions. The constitutionality of the clauses recently added to Article 15 and 16 is yet to be determined by the SC”.

He believes a favourable SC test is not very likely to happen “because reservations were envisaged to benefit the social groups who have been excluded from the very field and faced discrimination”.

In the letters he wrote, Krishnan urged the ministers to fully implement the 93rd amendment and bring about quota for SC/ST/BC in higher education private institutes. He had observed in letters to ministers since 2008 that most of the seats in professional and other higher educational institutions in the peninsular states are in the private sector, which has fast expanded, and is similarly expanding in other parts of the country.

“The presence of SCs and STs is next to nil and of BCs nominal, and only children of well-to-do families, almost entirely non-SC, non-ST, non-BC, are able to avail themselves of the opportunities in this burgeoning educational sector in the absence of reservation,” he said.
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