The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court dismissed a petition which challenged cadre-based reservation in direct recruitment by Gondwana University in Gadchiroli.
The petitioners, All India Adiwasi Employees Federation (AIAEF) and a teacher Gajanan Sayam, had challenged the validity of the Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act, 2021. Their contention was that the Gondwana University while giving an ad for recruitment to the post of assistant professors should have given subject-wise reservation rather than offering it to the entire cadre.
The bench headed by justices AS Chandurkar and VV Joshi in their order dated September 29 stated: “We do not find that the challenge raised to the validity of the Act of 2021 can be upheld. The Act of 2021 is found to be a competent piece of legislation not falling foul of any alleged infirmities for being struck down”.
The petitioners, through their legal counsel MM Sudame, had submitted that the state legislature was not justified in enacting the Act of 2021 thereby providing for cadre-wise reservation. The petitioners cited a 1984 recruitment ad put out by Nagpur university, arguing that it was challenged citing similar reasons. The petitioners said that under Section 57(4)(a) of the Nagpur University Act, 1974, subject-wise reservation has to be indicated in the employment notice. In this particular case, the HC and later the Supreme Court held that reservation should have been mentioned subject-wise.
Sudame said the Act of 2021 sought to enforce the policy of reservation in the matter of direct recruitment by treating a post as part of the cadre in an educational institution. The post of teacher was considered as a cadre itself and the reservation was to be applied for the entire cadre. The enactment was contrary to the HC and SC verdicts.
Advocate General Birendra Saraf, who appeared for the state government, told the court that Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India was an enabling provision and the same permitted the state to implement the policy of reservation by balancing the rights of all stake holders. Saraf argued that reservation was implemented by indicating the relevant subjects for which number of posts were reserved. He said it was found that various posts remained vacant for longer time.
The court mentioned: “The provision pertaining to reservation being an enabling provision, different state govts could have different methods of reservations. If cadre-wise reservation does not suffer from constitutional infirmity, there would be no basis for this Court to interfere with such legislative act”.