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In the series of explaining Editorials’ Difficult Words, we have cherry-picked the below editorial from The Hindu. Reading the editorials on a daily basis will not only acquaint you with new words but will also improve your general awareness apart from helping you build a perspective on different issues.

Teachers and quotas

Bill on reservation in central academic cadre provides relief to disadvantaged sections

Legislation to overcome the effects of court verdicts is not always a good idea. However, sometimes an exception ought (used to indicate correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions; आमतौर पर किसी के कार्यों की आलोचना करते समय शुद्धता का संकेत देने के लिए उपयोग किया जाता है ) to be made in the larger public interest. One such law is the Centre’s Bill to ensure that reservation for scheduled castes, tribes and other backward classes in appointments to central educational institutions is preserved. The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Bill, 2019, passed by the Lok Sabha, replaces an ordinance promulgated (to announce something publicly, especially a new law; प्रख्यापित / एक नए कानून की सार्वजनिक रूप से घोषणा करना ) in March. Its main object is to restore the system of treating an institution or a university as a single unit to apply the reservation roster (a list of people’s names, often with the jobs they have been given to do; व्यक्तियों  के नामों की सूची उन्हें जो काम दिया गया है उसके साथ ), and thus help fill 7,000 teaching vacancies. It seeks to get around (to find a way of dealing with a problem; समस्या से निपटने के लिए एक तरीका खोजना ) a 2017 judgment of the Allahabad High Court striking down (to decide that a law is illegal; किसी क़ानून को अमान्य घोषित करना ) University Grants Commission regulations that treated the institution as the unit for determining the roster, and directing that each department be the relevant unit. In short, reservation should be department-wise, and not institution-wise, the court ruled. The Supreme Court rejected the Centre’s appeal against the order. But the narrower basis for applying quotas would mean fewer aspirants from OBC and SC/ST sections would be recruited as assistant professors. In the interest of social justice, it had to restore the system of having a wider pool (quantity of a particular thing; किसी विशेष चीज़ की मात्रा ) of posts in which the quotas of 27% for OBC, 15% for SC and 7.5% ST could be effectively applied. From this perspective, the Bill provides welcome relief for aspirants from the disadvantaged sections of society.

It is not that the court was manifestly (very obviously; बहुत स्पष्ट रूप से ) wrong in applying the roster based on a smaller unit, that is, a department in a university or institution. The High Court noted that having the whole institution as a unit would result in some departments having only reservation beneficiaries (a person or group who receives advantages as a result of something else; लाभार्थी / एक व्यक्ति या समूह जो किसी चीज़ के परिणामस्वरूप लाभ प्राप्त करता है ) and others only those from the open category. But the counterpoint (contrast with another point in a satisfying way; एक संतोषजनक तरीके से दूसरे बिंदु के विपरीत ) is equally valid. Having the department as the unit would mean smaller faculties would not have any reservation. In the roster system, it needs 14 posts to accommodate SC and ST candidates, as their turn would come only at the seventh and 14th vacancy. There may be no vacancies in many departments for many years, with none from the reserved categories for decades. On the other hand, taking the institution as the unit would give more opportunities for these sections. According to the UGC’s annual report for 2017-18, nearly two-thirds of assistant professors in Central universities are from the general category. Their representation would go up further, as the present Bill also applies the 10% quota for the economically weak among those outside the reservation loop. Applying the court’s department-wise roster norm would have deepened the sense of deprivation (a situation in which you do not have things or conditions that are usually considered necessary for a pleasant life; वंचित होना / एक ऐसी स्थिति जिसमें आपके पास ऐसी चीजें नहीं होती हैं जिन्हें आमतौर पर सुखद जीवन के लिए आवश्यक माना जाता है ) of the backward classes and SC/ST communities. To that extent, the new enactment will serve a vital (absolutely necessary; महत्वपूर्ण ) social purpose.

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