Monday, June 17, 2024

Delhi HC seeks Jamia’s stand on plea against removing SC/ST quota in teaching, non-teaching posts

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) regarding a petition challenging the varsity’s decision to implement religion-based reservation in teaching and non-teaching positions while abolishing the quota for scheduled caste and scheduled tribe categories.

A vacation bench of Justice Vikas Mahajan observed that the matter required consideration and asked the JMI and the Centre to file their response to the petition in three weeks’ time.

The court clarified that it is not putting a stay on the hiring process, and directed that one post each be kept vacant for the petitioners — Ram Niwas Singh and Sanjay Kumar Meena — under the categories they have applied for as per the advertisement.

The court said: “It appears that the matter requires consideration. Issue notice. Let counter affidavit be filed within three weeks. In the meanwhile, the Respondent University is directed to keep one post vacant for the petitioners in each category (i.e. (i) Assistant Registrar, (ii) Section Officer and (iii) LDC (lower division clerk)), under which they have applied.”

Earlier, the court had sought the JMI’s response on the same petition seeking an expedited hearing.

Petitioners Singh and Meena belong to the SC and ST communities, respectively.

It is the petitioners’ argument that the resolution passed by JMI’s Executive Council on June 23, 2014, should be nullified as it was enacted without following proper legal procedures.

The petitioners also requested a stay on the recruitment process for 241 non-teaching positions, which lacks reservation for SC and ST candidates.

Appearing for JMI, standing counsel Pritish Sabharwal had said that as a minority institution, it is not bound by the reservation policy for SC/ST.

The petitioners had argued that the exclusion of SC/ST candidates from reservation is a violation of the constitutional mandate alleging that JMI has arbitrarily abolished the reservation for SC/ST in the appointment and promotion of non-teaching staff.

The petition further states that the resolution to abolish SC/ST reservation was never approved by the Visitor (President of India) and has not been published in the official gazette or presented before the Parliament.

The petition refers to a resolution passed by the Executive Council in 2014, following a declaration by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions that recognised JMI as a minority university.

The resolution approved religion-based reservation in teaching and non-teaching recruitment/promotion, resulting in the abolition of SC/ST reservation.

The petition seeks to declare the Executive Council’s resolution null and void, arguing that it violates Article 29(2) of the Indian Constitution and the principles of secularism.

The petition also questions the validity of the minority commission’s order recognising JMI as a minority institution.

The petitioners also argue that they will suffer significant prejudice and irreparable hardship if the recruitment process for the advertised posts is concluded.

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