Scheduled Castes Current Affairs - 2019

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Constitution (126th amendment) bill, 2019 introduced in Lok Sabha

The Constitution (126th amendment bill), 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 9, 2019. The bill seeks to extend the reservation provided to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes by 10 years.

Key Features

The reservation provided to the Anglo-Indian community, SC, ST is to end by January 25, 2020. The bill is being introduced to continue the reservation of seats for another 10 years, that is till January, 25, 2030.

The reservation has been included in Article 334 and therefore the bill seeks to amend the article.

Article 334

Article 334 lays down that the provisions for reservation of seats and special representation of anglo-indians, SC and ST will cease after 40 years. The clause was included in 1949. After 40 years, it is being amended with an extension of 10 years.

Constitutional Amendment

The Constitution Amendment is making changing in the constitution. According to Article 368, there are two types of Constitutional Amendments namely, the amendment effected by special majority and the amendment effected by special majority and ratification by at least one half of state legislatures.

Special majority requires ratification by two-third members present at the voting. At the time of voting, more than 50% of the total strength of the house should be present.

Cabinet Clears Ordinance on Reservation Roster for University Teachers

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the ordinance for the Reservation Roster for University Teachers.

What was the issue?

Following an order by the Allahabad high court in April 2017, the University Grants Commission had announced in March last year that an individual department should be considered as the base unit to calculate the number of teaching posts to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates.

This order of UGC led to a series of protests. The protestors were demanding the restoration of the 200-point roster and the government had filed a review petition against the verdict of the Allahabad High Court which was dismissed by the Supreme Court. The ordinance has been brought in by the Supreme Court to nullify the verdict of the Supreme Court.

What is the 200-point Roster System?

200 point roster system is a roster system for faculty positions that includes 99 posts reserved for the SC, ST and OBC communities and 101 posts for the unreserved. Under this roster, in case there is a deficit of reserved seats in one department, it could be compensated by more people from the reserved communities in other departments in the university.  It considers college or university as a unit for reservation in teaching posts.

Whereas under the new 13 point roster proposed by the UGC, an individual department should be considered as the base unit to calculate the number of teaching posts to be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes candidates. This system had drawbacks for small departments of the university or college. Also, the 200 point roster system provided an advantage wherein the deficit in reservation in one department could be compensated by other departments. The government has brought an ordinance to restore the 200-point roster system.