EWS quota only in govt, not private, institutes for now


NEW DELHI: Economically Weaker Section(EWS) quota will only be implemented immediately in government-run higher education institutes as of now and not in private sector ones as the current rule book and legal position do not allow full-scale reservation in private educational institutes despite the recent law being passed, ET has reliably learnt.

In fact, implementing reservations in private institutes is currently sub judice with the Allahabad High Court striking it down in 2011 and the Centre’s appeal on the same pending in the Supreme Court as on date, government sources said.

Keeping this in mind, the HRD ministry will not pursue a private sector quota plan in a hurry and will instead draw up an implementation schedule only for central educational institutes at present. The HRD ministry intends to implement the 10% quota starting from the upcoming 2019-20 academic year in government institutes, with a possible increase in seats in a staggered fashion. Incidentally, the government’s approach also has precedence. Both the UPA and NDA have followed exactly the same method in bringing additional reservations –– explicitly so and backed by the law for government-run institutes, but only implicitly and indirectly through ‘enabling’ laws in the private sector. As a result, private institutes, which comprise nearly 70% of the higher education institutes in India, have been largely kept out of the ambit of reservation so far –– a scenario quite likely even for the 10% quota.

The recently-notified 103rd amendment to the Constitution has inserted Article 15(6) which allows the sate to make special provisions allowing up to 10% EWS reservation in “admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the State, other than the minority educational institutions”. Article 15(6) echoes Article 15(5) of the Constitution, which was brought in 2006 by UPA-1 through the 93rd Amendment to the Constitution to implement a 27% reservation for OBCs.

Ultimately, the government came up with the Central Educational Institutes (Amendment) Act in 2006 to carry out OBC reservations across central educational institutes. However, no such law was brought in separately for private aided and unaided institutes and it was assumed that Article 15(5) would cover private institutes under the quota ambit. Following the 2006 CEI Act, some states enacted laws to effect similar reservation regimes in aided and unaided private institutes as well. In 2008, the UP Admission to Educational Institutions (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) Act, 2006 was challenged by Sudha Tiwari in the Allahabad High Court over OBC quota reservations in admissions for B.P.Ed at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University –– an unaided private educational institute.

In February 2011, in Sudha Tiwari Vs Union of India, the Allahabad High Court struck down the UP law and ruled that the Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act 2005 “in so far as it enables to provide reservation for admission to unaided educational institutions, is violative of the basic structure of the Constitution of India, as it has been held in Ashoka Kumar Thakur vs. Union of India (2008)”. The Union government has gone in appeal against the Allahabad HC judgement to the Supreme Court. However, the matter is still sub judice and hence restricts the Centre from implementing any further quota system in private institutes