Just 12.4% IIT-M faculty belong to reserved categories

Of the 684 faculty members at the institution, whopping 87% belong to other castes, says official data accessed through RTI
IIT Madras
IIT Madras

CHENNAI: Just12.4 per cent of faculty members recruited at IIT-Madras belong to reserved categories.

The information, given in response to an RTI petition, shows blatant violation of the caste-based reservation policy by the institution. The policy stipulates 15 per cent reservation for SC, 7.5 per cent for ST and 27 per cent for OBC in all appointments. However, of the 684 faculties in the institution a whopping 599 are from other castes, as on June 2019 -- which is 87 per cent of the total strength. 

Only 16 of them are SC, 66 OBC and 3 from ST category - 2 per cent, 10 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively. Data also shows that a majority of Dalit, tribal and backward class candidates who applied for faculty posts were not even called for an interview. In 2019 for instance, 271 people applied for jobs of which just five were interviewed and two got selected. In 2018, 682 people applied of which just 16 were called for interview. 

“Official data shows this has been the trend since 2014,” says activist and alumni of IIT-M, E Muralidharan, who filed the RTI application. He accuses IIT-M of indulging in favouritism and social discrimination.

“Responding to my RTI application in May last year, the institution said it was following a ‘flexi-cadre’ system in appointments. This is against Madras High Court order, which says it should follow the roster and reservation policies.” 

Muralidharan says the court had warned of penal consequences if the institution was found violating any the principles of reservation.

Is MHRD the culprit?

IIT-M says it’s following the reservation policy laid out by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in a circular dated June 9, 2008. The circular says reservation would be applicable to all posts in humanities, social sciences and management departments. In the Science and Technology departments, reservation will be provided only for the post of assistant professor.  

Responding to this circular in 2010, the Department of Personnel and Training issued a memorandum calling for a ban on unilateral guidelines issued by various ministries or departments on matters of recruitment. 

“If any ministry or department resorts to issue such orders for recruitment, those orders will be treated as non-existent. DoPT is authorised to declare the same as null and void,” it had said.

Despite this clarification from the DoPT, IITs and the MHRD continue to violate the reservation policy, claim activists.  

Express has accessed a response given by IIT-M Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes on the matter.

“IIT-Madras has only overall institute-wise sanctioned strength. It does not have sanctioned strength per department or per cadre and hence there is no roster,” he had said, adding that the institute was adopting vacancy-based reservation and that there was shortage of SC candidates, as determined by the selection committee.

The big picture

As per the official data, less than 3 per cent of those teaching at IITs across the country are from reserved categories. Of the 6,043 faculty members at the 23 IITs, 149 are SC and 21 ST. 

In January, Education Minister Prakash Javadekar said reservation was applicable only in the case of entry-level appointments to science and technology departments at IITs. IIT-M has not responded to an e-mail seeking comments.

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