Uttar Pradesh govt looking into allegations of caste bias in university appointments in Banda
A senior Uttar Pradesh government official on Friday said the authorities were looking into whether rules were flouted after the Banda University for Agriculture and Technology landed in the midst of a controversy due to the allegation that 11 of the 15 appointments made to posts in the unreserved category were candidates from the same caste.
It was claimed that 11 of the 15 selected candidates in the unreserved category had the same surname, leading to allegations that the university favoured one caste in the matter.
Seven other candidates were selected in the reserved category. Five posts on the list have not been filled.
Uttar Pradesh’s additional chief secretary (agriculture) Devesh Chaturvedi said: “Though we have not received any written complaint, but taking note of media reports, we are probing if the reservation policy was followed or not and if any rules, regulations were flouted.”
The university had advertised a total of 40 positions separately and filled 24 of them.
As for the rest, the university said the applicants did not fulfil the criteria and that was why 16 seats remained vacant.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Tindwari (Banda) Brijesh Prajapati has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief minister Yogi Adityanath and governor Anandiben Patel, alleging irregularities in the appointments. He said only one caste had been preferred for appointments at the university.
Last year, the university had advertised for 20 positions—18 in the general category and two from the economic weaker section (EWS). Of this, 15 candidates were selected. Eleven of them from one caste were chosen for the positions of professor, associate professor and assistant professor, the MLA alleged.
Prajapati, in his letter, alleged the university did not follow the reservation roster. He further alleged the university issued two separate advertisements for a total of 40 positions to carry out irregularities in the reservation.
The total reservation is 50% as per the rules—27% for OBCs, 21% for SC/STs and 2% for the EWS.
“In order to skirt the roster system, the university issued two advertisements to fill all the 40 vacant seats, 29 positions were to be filled in one go and 11 later. If all the positions were filled at a time, then roster should have been applied,” he said, demanding recruitment advertisements be cancelled and reissued.
The university, in an official statement, said it had advertised a total of 40 positions — eight professors, 14 associate professors and 18 assistant professors. Of them, 18 positions were for unreserved category candidates, 11 for OBCs, nine for SCs and two for EWS.
During the recruitment process, 24 candidates were found eligible: 16 from the unreserved category, five from OBCs and three from SC, it said.
As per the University Act, the chairman of the selection committee is the vice chancellor. Apart from him governor appoints two subject experts, one dean, one head of department, two people each from OBC and SC category as members of the committee.
“The screening process is robust and the right candidates were selected on the basis of their academic profile, interview and teaching scale,” the university said.
Those who secured maximum marks out of 100 were selected, it added.
But the BJP leaders said the university split the reservation roster to favour a particular caste and had not shed any light on this allegation in the statement.