Just before the start of the new session, most colleges in Delhi University are scrambling for filling up their 3 per cent reserved quota in teaching posts for the disabled. There is a need for trained teachers, as colleges have introduced new courses but having failed to implement the 3 per cent disability quota for the faculty, most colleges are unable to hire permanent faculty.
Some like Gargi College are also bending rules to meet the target reservation. Meera Ramachandran, Principal said, “It will be the first time that there will be a male faculty as it goes against the very grain of the college but then we feel that every one should get an equally opportunity to work.” Gargi is in the process of interviewing more people but still falls short of the required quota. Similarly, for Kamala Nehru College, though the infrastructure supports the physically challenged, they are still to meet the requirements as prescribed by the law. “All new positions that we shall be soon advertising for under various disciplines shall be open to the disabled,” said Minoti Chatterjee, Principal, KNC.
Ventakeshwara College has two orthopaedically challenged teaching faculties in Math and Political Science department. They fall short of one person as per law but Principal A.S. Reddy said, “We uphold the constitutional provision that is provided to the physically challenged at Ventakeshwara. The newer posts that I am going to advertise for shall be open to the disabled.” Lady Shri Ram College has one visually challenged teacher in the Hindi department. Media Coordinator, Kanika Khandelwal said, “We have invited applications for Sociology, Political Science and Hindi and first priority shall be given to the disabled.”
The infrastructure of Janki Devi Memorial College is not prepared to take in the physically challenged. Principal Indu Anand said, “Starting this year not only will be have ramps for the disabled but come July we shall start conducting interviews for the intake of the physically challenged faculty.”
Hindu College Principal, Kavita Sharma said, “As per the provision we need to have three disabled faculty in a staff strength of 118. As soon as we start filling in faculty positions, the first priority shall be given to the them.” Commited to the cause of the disabled, Miranda College Principal said, “So far we have one visually challenged teacher but we are committed to the mandate that requires the 3 per cent reservation so for newer positions as and when available shall be open to the disabled.”
On April 3, this year the Delhi High Court put breaks on all fresh faculty appointments in colleges in Delhi University unless they filled up the 3 per cent quota that that the government reserves for the physically challenged. Restraining all further permanent appointments, the Bench comprising Justice T.S. Thakur and S.N. Agarwal stated in the court order “We stay the process of selection and appointments so that the right of the disabled may not be defeated again.”
The Disability Act was passed 15 years ago promising equal work opportunity to all the physically challenged. Six years later, the 3 per cent reservation for the disabled was made mandatory but even years after the promises were made most colleges in Delhi University failed to implement the reservations of seats. The order stated “The colleges are defying the provisions of the Parliamentary legislation and judgment of this court.”
What is unfortunate is that no amount of effort, petitions, laws have resulted in creating an equal opportunity status for the disabled. Though most colleges are making concerted efforts to fill in the quota, the target is far from being achieved.
As per the provision, we need to have three disabled faculty in a staff strength of 118. As soon as we start filling in faculty positions, the first priority shall be given to the them.
Kavita Sharma, Principal, Hindu College