Exposition of Reservation Norms in Manipur University

Lh Seitinthang *

>A protest rally  in Manipur University (MU), Canchipur on August 4 2014
A protest rally in Manipur University (MU), Canchipur on August 4 2014 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

While implementing Reservation Norms, it will be imperative to consider the philosophy behind this provision in the Indian Constitution. The MU authority is coming out with manipulative scheme for not implementing the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 starting from the Academic Session 2014-2015. As of now, the MU authority stands firm in defending the illegal and unreasonable decision of the Academic Council, Office Order No. 498, Reference No.MU/3-158/91 (Pt.) dated 14-8-2014, that rolled back the MU Official Notification through the Press on 25th July.

In its manipulative scheme with the sole objective of furthering the discrimination against the marginalized tribal in general and the tribal students in particular, the MU authority is coming out with fabricated data to prove their point. This fabricated-manipulative data entitled "Reservation in Admission, Manipur University" is shown in a paper sheet as provided to the representatives of the Co-ordination Committee the by the VC himself on 19th August, 2014.

The MUTSU challenges this data and justification of the MU authority on the following grounds:

1. Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006:
i. Reservation in admission for ST candidates - 7.5 %
ii. Reservation in admission for SC candidates - 15 %
iii. Reservation in admission for OBC in a phase manner

MU authority does not specify how reservation of seat is materialized for the OBC. As per Section 3(iii) of the Act of 2006, the OBC has to get 27 % reservation. Due to non-adherence of the afore mentioned Section 3(iii) of the Act of 2006, the OBC strength seems to have steadily increased over the years at the cost of the ST and SC.

2. Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act 2012:
i. Reservation in admission for ST candidates - 31 %
ii. Reservation in admission for SC candidates - 2 %
iii. Reservation in admission for OBC candidate - 17 %

Manipur University became a Central University on 13th October, 2005 (source: data provided by the VC).

The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, (No. 5 of 2007) received the assent of the President on 3rd January, 2007. (Source: Gazette of India) This Act of 2006 can come to effect only from the academic session of 2007 - 08 (at the earliest). Therefore, it is clear that the stand of MU Authority and its attempt to show that the Act of 2006 was not implemented in 2006 - 07 academic session is nothing but a blatant lie and a sinister design. How could they implement the non-existing Act; and how could the MU authority claim that the said Act was not implemented in the academic session of 2006-07 to favour the tribal students? Is not it ridiculous?

The MU authority could not implement the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006 in the Academic sessions of 2007 -08 and 2008 - 2009 (two academic session since the Act came to effect from 4th January, 2007). 2006 - 2009 was a period of turmoil in the Manipur University. The then Central norm (Act of 2006) with regards to Admission was against the population ratio in the State. This was the factor for the turmoil.

It is noteworthy here that, in response to the UGC directive on new guidelines on ¦Reservation Policy (August, 2006 (No.F. 1 - 5/2006(SCT)), Manipur University has adopted the new guidelines in the admission to M.Phil, and Ph.D. students w.e.f the academic session 2007 - 08.

The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act 2012 does not even reflect the tribal population ratio as per the latest Census of 2011. Is it not our right to have reservation in education and employment in accordance with our population strength? If no, on what basis reservation formula is built?

Despite the approval for the implementation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 from academic session 2014 -15 in the Heads and Deans meeting on 23.7.2014 (Source: Registrar Letter dated 23 July 2014), the MU authority, now, is coming out in open with the stand that they are not going to implement the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act 2012 (that came to effect since 20th June, 2012) starting from the academic session 2014 -15.

As a matter of fact, this stand is in contradiction to the Official Press Notification served by the MU authority and published by the media on 25thof July, 2014. The Official notification stated that the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 (that came to effect since 20th June, 2012) will be implemented from the academic session 2014 -15. This Press Release was on the basis of the Head and Deans meeting that was held on 23/7/2014.

The University adopted the Act of 2006 (that came into effect from 4th January. 2007) from the year 2009 -10 academic sessions following the under-mentioned reservation criteria:
i. Reservation in admission for ST - 7.5 %
ii. Reservation in admission for SC - 15 %
iii. Reservation in admission for OBC - 9 % *(% of Reservation for OBC increases over the years)

Five academic sessions (2009 - 2010, 2010 - 2011, 2011 - 2012, 2012 - 2013, 2013 -2014) were under the Reservation norm by the Act of 2006.

The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 (that came to effect since 20th June, 2012), could have been implemented since the Academic Session 2012 - 2013 as the Academic year starts from July/August every year. Even after two years of the Act of 2012 has been in effect, the MU authority does not want to implement it on the pretext of problem caused by the agitation of certain section of students' group.

Due to their manipulation, the tribal students have lost two academic sessions (2012 - 13 and 2013 - 2014) for higher education in the Manipur University. How long are they going to play the life and career of the tribals?

The Deputy Secretary of UGC Shri Sharanjit Singh in his Letter to the Registrar, MU, dated August, 2006 (No.F. 1 - 5/2006(SCT) enclosed a copy of the new guidelines "For the Strict observation of Reservation Policy of the Government in Universities, Deemed to be Universities, Colleges and other Grant-In-Aid Institutions and Centres." This Letter was dispatched to the Manipur University on 25th August, 2006 by the UGC for the strict implementation of the new guidelines. This new guidelines is entitled "UGC GUIDELINES FOR STRICT IMPLEMENTATION OF RESERVATION POLICY OF THE GOVERNMENT IN UNIVERSITIES, DEEMED TO BE UNIVERSITIES. COLLEGES AND OTHER GRANT-IN-AID INSTITUTIONS AND CENTRES."

As Manipur University authority implemented the new guidelines of the UGC w.e.f the academic session 2007 -08 (introducing the Manipur Government's reservation policy) and continued till the academic session 2008 -09, it cannot be said that the MU authority has given two academic sessions as grace period for the benefit of the tribal students - as asserted by the Vice Chancellor on 19th August, 2014 in his justification for not implementing the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 from the academic session 2014 -15. He attempted to justify his stand by giving the cooked-up details on "Reservation in Admission, Manipur University", a 2 pages of fabricated information sheet to mislead the students and all stakeholders. This information was given to the team of Co-ordination Committee who went to submit Representation to him.

The VC claimed that the University authority has given a grace period of three (3) academic sessions (2006 - 07, 2007 - 2008, 2008 - 2009) for the benefit of the tribal students!! The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006 was adopted from the year 2009 - 10 (ST - 7.5%, SC 15%, OBC - the % of reservation keeps increasing!). That is, from 2009 -2014 (five academic sessions) this Act of 2006 has been in place in MU.

Increasing percentage of OBC reservation since 2009 - 10:
2009-10: 9% OBC
2010-11: 18 % OBC (double the previous figure)
2011-12: 27% OBC
2012-13: 27% OBC
2013-14: 27% OBC

It is unthinkable that the authority of MU is trying its best for denying the rights of the tribal students for higher education in the Manipur University. On what basis the VC of the MU backed by his subordinates has been trying to delay the implementation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act 2012? Can we allow them to go on manipulating and discriminating us tribals by denying our rights granted by the Constitution of India?

Is the MU authority bargaining with the tribals by twisting and manipulating the Parliament Acts? Are they above the law of the land? If they cannot respect the law of the land, they cannot expect to be protected by the law of the land. Have they forgotten the rule of law? Can any right-thinking individual accept the above justification of the MU authority? Does not the above justification directly indicate that the students' agitation was stage-managed? The students' agitation subsided once they had come to know the fact, but the agitation of the MU authority against the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 continues.

Now, the tussle is between the manipulative and sinister MU authority and the deprived and marginalized tribal students.

In the MU Registrar's Letter to the Secretary to the Governor of Manipur on the "Subject : Charter of demands submitted by Manipur University Tribal Students' Union," dated 23 July 2014, Ref. No. MU/6/14/2008/Adms.l, it clearly stated in the last paragraph of the Letter, clause 3(a) that "For the academic year 2014-15, as the Gazette Notification dated 20 June 2012 Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012 stipulates that reservation norms in Central Educational Institutions in the tribal inhabited states of Northeast India including Manipur be as per State Govt. norms. The University worked out the detailed break-up figures for admission of SC/ST/OBC and UR as detailed in Annexure-III. The same was placed in the Heads and Deans meeting held on 23.7.2014 for consideration and it was approved."

It is worth mentioning here that on the report of the Students Admission, the Registrar has written in such a manipulative way thereby, not showing the reservation of seats as per the norms. He has shown the total percentage of students enrolled for the academic session 2013 -14 as mentioned in clause 3(a). As per this report, out of a total no. of 3406 students enrolled in the University for UG/PG/Diploma/PhD courses there were:
1. 325 (SC)
2. 720 (ST)
3. 1485 (OBC)
4. 13 (PWD)
5. 863 (UR)

This approximately represent:
1. 9.5 % (SC) [Unable to fill up the 15 % reservation of seats as per the Act of 2006 as not enough students applied]
2. 21 % (ST) [7.5 % reserved seats + remaining students who got admission by their own merit without reservation i.e., General Seats]
3. 43.6 % (OBC) [OBC students got higher seats beyond the reserved seals, how many OBC students got admission through their own merits without reservation]
4. 0.4% (PWD)
5. 25.3 %(UR)

This Report clearly reflects that there have been not enough SC students to even fill the reserved seats of 15%. While on the other hand, many deserving ST students have been denied for higher education as a result of this unfortunate Act of 2006, that grants only 7.5% reserved seats in Admission in Central Educational Institutions.

With regards to ST Boys' Hostel (clause 2 of the Letter), the Registrar wrote that "The University has completed construction of a separate ST Boys' Hostel and allotment will be given from the academic session 2014 -15." This report is misleading, as there is no completed standing building/structure designated as ST Boys' Hostel within the campus of the Manipur University that can accommodate the ST students from the academic session 2014-15.

It is also to be noted here that as per Anexure III of the Letter, reservation break-up of seats for departments like Foreign Language (SI. No. 29/ No. of seats not indicated) and MIMS (SI. No. 30/ total 50 seats) are not shown. On MIMS, it mentions that "Admission for MIMS will be carried out through ALL INDIA Management Aptitude Test (MAT)." In this regard, it is not clear how the MU authority conducts the admission process for the departments of Foreign Language and MIMS.

A copy of the MU Registrar Letter and a Report to the Secretary to the Governor of Manipur was attached in a Letter dated, 30th July, 2014/ Ref. No. GSM/MU-1/96 (Pt.II) by the Deputy Secretary to the Governor of Manipur to Shri Gaikhuanlung Ngaomei, President (former), MUTSU. The Letter of the Deputy Secretary to the Governor of Manipur was received by the addressee in response to the Representation, No. MUTSU/MOU/P-1 dated 29/4/2014.

Not only on admission but on employment too that the MU authority has been fooling the tribals through their shrewd manipulation. For instance, the UGC directive sent by Dr. Archana Thakur, Deputy Secretary, UGC [D.O.No. F.I-8/2014 (SCT) of 7th June, 2014] to the MU is shelved. This Letter is on the reservation policy for SCs, STs, & OBCs and Persons with Disabilities in teaching and Non-teaching post in Universities/Institutions. The Letter reads "You are required to adopt the Reservation policy for SC/ST in toto and display the reservation roster which is to be updated at regular intervals on your web-site. The Roster is to be prepared cadre-wise not department-wise." This directive was sent for strict implementation of the Reservation Policy. However, till date, the authority of the MU has not done anything in this regard. How long are they going to hide this matter from the purview of the public? Are they going to hide this file for further manipulation on the line of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act 2012?

It is on all these above mentioned grievances and many other acts of commission and omission by the authority of the Manipur University that the MUTSU is humbly appealing for your kind intervention in the larger interest and welfare of the tribals in Manipur and the students community in particular.

We, the MUTSU, have unanimously resolved to ensure that the academic session of 2014 -15 be made Zero-academic year through various forms of agitations in collaboration with all the tribal students organizations and civil societies of the tribals in Manipur if our genuine demand is not granted/honoured. We are fully prepared for intense agitation against the MU authority and the State Government in case the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act, 2012, is not implemented from the Academic Session 2014-15.

* Lh Seitinthang wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is the president of MUTSU.
This article was posted on August 27, 2014.

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