Cornered by social and political organisations over abolishing the 50% quota for Punjab students, Thapar University (TU) now faces a notice from the Punjab State Scheduled Castes (SC) Commission.
Taking cognizance of the HT report 'Varsity move to reduce SC seats' published on Sunday, the commission expressed unhappiness over the decrease in undergraduate engineering seats for SCs, an outcome of the abolition of the Punjab quota and a cut in the overall SC quota.
HT had reported how, in the earlier set-up, when 400 of the 800 seats were reserved for Punjab students, those from the SC category got 25% reservation within the state quota. This meant 100 seats.
Also, there was a 17.5% quota for SCs in the all-India category, which meant 70 of the remaining 400 seats. Now, as per the TU prospectus for 2012-13, SC students would get only 15% quota overall. This would mean 120 seats, open to all-India competition.
"The commission has decided to send a notice to the university since we will not allow TU to harm the chances of SC students. We have asked TU for reasons behind its decision," said Dalip Singh Pandhi, a member of the commission.
In the notice, which will be served on TU on Monday, the SC commission has asked the varsity to give details of the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines and state rules being followed with regard to the SC reservation. The varsity will get three days to reply.
Pandhi said that ideally, TU should have provided more seats to the students of SC category from Punjab since the population of SCs has proportionally increased in the state.
Earlier, after HT reported that TU has abolished the 5% quota for Backward Classes from Punjab and the 2% quota for sportspersons from the state, the State Backward Classes Commission sent notices to TU.
Fraud with Punjab: Arshi
Former MLA from Bhudlada and senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Hardev Arshi on Sunday said that TU, by scrapping the quota for Punjab students, was playing fraud with state. "This has become a trend now. The government gives land worth crores free of cost to private institutes, which then cheat us. TU is a prime example," he said.
He said the government was taking the matter "casually". "Merely writing a letter to the central government by the chief minister is not enough."
Meanwhile, TU has banned the entry of media to its campus, with heavy security put up on the main gate. "We have been told not to allow any journalists inside the campus," said a guard.