13 Sep 2018 05:24am IST
Alito Siqueira with Rama Kankonkar and Omkar Govekar
It is time that the government learnt from the experience of Goa University. In 2014, by Listed Assembly Question No. 030 tabled by Vijay Sardesai, the Assembly was informed that the Goa University has 58 backlog vacancies in teaching positions (Professors 23, Associate Professors 9, and Assistant Professors 26) for SC/ST and OBC. However, by an advertisement dated July 2017, Goa University ignored this backlog and attempted to fill posts by having a regular recruitment with regular reservations. While the advertisement had to be withdrawn for other reasons, some protest led to the University organising a special recruitment drive to fill the backlog for SC/ST/OBC which was advertised on 29 December, 2017. The total number of vacancies advertised was only 23 and 19 persons were appointed. Inquiries with Goa University and the Department of Higher Education as to when the remaining backlog vacancies are going to be advertised and filled have not solicited a response. Once again, the Commissioner of SC/ST has not taken up an appeal regarding the backlog that is yet to be filled by the Goa University. In this instance, since the Commissioner is also on the Executive Council of the University, one wonders if there is a conflict of interest. Will the lethargy of the Commissioner in matters of filling backlog vacancies, whether with the Directorate of Accounts or with the Goa University, leave the Commissioner open to charges of complicity in ignoring Constitutional provisions for filling backlog reservations?
It is obvious that much of the government institutional effort is geared towards ignoring the provisions of the 81st Amendment (and consequential Office Memorandum No. 36012/17/2002-Estt.(Res) dated 6 November 2003) that backlog reservations must be filled expeditiously, before the next round of recruitments. A look at the information provided to the Legislative Assembly makes this obvious (see the table).
Between the years 2015 and 2018, how is it that the posts earmarked for STs have reduced from 3906 to 2190? The posts occupied by STs have shrunk from 2923 to 1262? The government has been misleading the State Assembly by stating that the backlog has reduced when in actuality the number of STs occupying posts in the government has drastically reduced. There is the distortion of figures that comes through and the thrust of this fabrication is a conspiracy to reduce the representation of STs in Service.
We have been able to demonstrate the case of STs here and the case of OBCs and SCs would not be very different.
What is at stake is the representation of discriminated communities, namely the SC, ST and OBCs in government service. In various ways – either through miscalculating reserved vacancies, or not fulfilling the constitutional requirement to keep and fill the backlogs separately, or miswriting and using incomplete rosters, etc – those very agencies that are meant to observe and supervise reservations are making a concerted and systematic effort to subvert the Constitutional mandate for adequate representation of discriminated communities. The means adopted show a wilful ignorance that can best be described as institutional castesim perpetuated through the State machinery. In its hurry to fill 1500 vacancies as a pre-election sop, the government will be diminishing the representation of ST, SC, OBC communities in government service yet again. True, it is not a new story, yet it will provoke pain, anger and bitterness and is rather sinister, is it not?
(Inputs from members of Social Justice Action Committee and GAKUVED)