PIL seeks 85% reservation for Delhi domicile students in DU

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Moksha Foundation, an NGO based in West Delhi recently filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Delhi High Court. The PIL seeks 85% reservation of the total seats, for Delhi domicile students in the Delhi state funded colleges in the University and further reservation in colleges which are partially funded by Govt of NCT of Delhi.. Devesh Lalwani, Founder and Executive Director, Moksha Foundation in conversation with Niharika Singh reveals his reasons for filing the PIL and the subsequent benefits it will yield.

What provoked Moksha Foundation on filing this PIL in the Delhi High Court?

It came to my notice when my family and friends had to face the burden of getting admission in the Delhi University. My friend scored 93.5% but he got admission only in the 6th cut off. Even scoring a 93.5% will not get you to a good college and on top of it there are other reservations. Also, The University of Delhi is so cost worthy, making it an added perk. Such an opportunity is essentially missed by the students for who it was created for in the first place.

2.87 lakh kids pass out from CBSE board in Delhi each year, out of which 1.87 lakh are from Govt funded schools. DU has 55,000 seats which is anyway insufficient, so if these kids do not get admission in Delhi University, where will they go? IIPM, Amity is anyway colleges which are way beyond their financial capability. The Government should either create more seats for them or reservation is the temporary solution.

What does the filed PIL entail for exactly?

I want reservations in a certain few colleges, till the time the government opens up more new colleges in order to keep students from having to leave Delhi. There are 12 state funded and 15 partially state funded colleges in Delhi University. Therefore, we want 85% reservation for Delhi domicile students in aforementioned colleges. What we are proposing is not something new, it is being followed in other states and in Delhi itself. We are following the pattern of NSIT, since it is an already tested and implemented pattern. If a college is being funded by the state, it should be utilized for the benefit of the states students.

Delhi University is a Central University. Does the PIL imply that the University be converted into a state funded entity?

Many Central Universities such as Tamil Nadu University, Sikkim University and BHU have their own kind of reservations. Apart from reservations for the socially backward classes, many universities include domicile reservation. Within Delhi University, colleges like Lady Irwin and NSIT do have similar reservations.

Delhi University follows the pattern of merit based admission. How does your argument that “students are denied admission due to large scale migration” hold account?

We come down to the basics over here. The DU website mentions that, it was established with the purpose of serving the students of Delhi. Secondly, when it expanded about four decades back into South campus, it had expanded with the objective of serving students of South. This objective clearly hasn’t been fulfilled, since about 70% of students in DU DO NOT belong to Delhi. Also CBSE is a notch higher in terms of competition and dissemination of education. Getting a 95% in CBSE and a 95% in Haryana Board is not the same thing. Scoring in CBSE is a little more difficult. In this process, CBSE students lose out. Indraprastha University and Ambedkar University do have reservation for Delhi domicile students but they offer selected courses. There is no substitute for Delhi University.

One of the biggest challenges India already faces is the reservation system. Do you think introducing this reservation in a Central University would lay grounds for further region based discrimination?

I am not for reservation at any point of time. But looking at the situation in Delhi, temporary reservation seems essential. My prime objective is creating opportunities for students of the Delhi domicile. In the past 15 years, no new college has been opened in Delhi University and neither have they expanded the available seats. This has put the students in Delhi at an extremely unequal footing. As of now when there is no intention of opening colleges in the next 3-4 years we have to have a certain method where they can cater to the Delhi population.

Are you aware of the PIL filed in 2004 by Delhi Study Circle regarding the same issue? Has it in anyway inspired your actions?

Yes, they filed a petition for 85% reservation. I went through their petition but it did not include the source of funding of colleges, like we have.They did talk about influx from other states resulting in regional imbalance though.They were asked to refile the petition but I don’t think they did.

Have you received support from the authorities of the 12 colleges in question?

Not as such. We have not really spoken to colleges. The conversation has been between Government officials and the foundation. Anyway, I don’t think it should matter to colleges where their students come from. They should be concerned with imparting wholesome education to these students, no matter where they are from.I know colleges will support us because In the long run, it will benefit the college itself. There will be students, the only difference would be that they are Delhi centric. Also, everybody who is from Delhi will be sympathetic to our cause.

Due to reservation, the admission cut offs might lower in these colleges. Is that what you are looking for?

The lowering of admission cut offs is not my biggest concern but yes, it is one of the constituents. I believe that your marks do not reflect your actual capability and in a way the lower cut offs would be more reasonable and sensible. I scored an 82% and I thought I had done amazingly well, my sister got a 95% but she still doubted her admission prospects. Students who are not in the higher brackets will not have to look for options outside of their home state.

What is your next plan of action?

We were scheduled to have a hearing on 17th July, but it was postponed as the judges were on leave. It is now scheduled for 31st July. As of now, we are waiting for the decision and hopefully it’s favorable.

[email protected]; Niharika is a journalism student. She loves new stationary, vintage collectables and the smell of expensive coffee. She can usually be found lurking between the dusty shelves of the library.

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