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MPs seek HRD Minister’s intervention in JNU quota policy

IANS | New Delhi |

Parliamentarians from across parties on Thursday urged Human Resource Development Minister, Prakash Javadekar, to intervene in the alleged bypassing of reservation system for SCs, STs and OBCs at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

The letter — signed by more than 30 parliamentarians from the Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the NCP and others — was a result of an earlier plea from the JNU Students’ Union. The plea was sent on Monday to the Lok Sabha’s Committee on Petitions through CPI-M MP Jitendra Choudhury, a member of the panel.

The petitioners in the letter — as students originally did — argued against current method of selection criteria for admission in M.Phil and Ph.D programmes in the university, according to which one requires to score at least 50 per cent in the written exam to qualify for the viva voce or oral exam, with no provision for any reservation.

The students in the letter had said that not only the 50 per cent cut-off is uniform for all categories of students but the subsequent viva is also accorded 100 per cent weightage, which goes against recommendations made by a committee formed at the varsity level to prevent chances of discrimination.

“The university constituted a committee in 2016 to study the discrimination in the admission process with special reference to viva voce. The committee submitted its report based on the data (2012-2015), which recommended that the discriminatory pattern would get mitigated if the viva is reduced from 30 marks to 15 marks,” the letter said.

“This shows that the university has violated the Act of Parliament, the Central Education Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006. The university has also violated the constitutional provision for access to higher education by SC/STs…

“Therefore we urge your august office to prevail upon the Vice Chancellor to restore the reservation policy for the admission in M.Phil and M.Phil/Ph.D. programmes,” it said.

The letter gains importance in the light of the complete lock-down the JNU students are observing for three weeks now, with reservation being the most prominent issue on their chart.