NEW DELHI: OBC reservation in admission has resulted in a battle of sorts between Jamia Milia Islamia and HRD ministry. After dithering over implementation of OBC reservation for more than two years, Jamia is now seeking more time, a plea that the ministry is unlikely to entertain.
What has particularly irked the ministry is that while Jamia on paper maintains it is willing to implement OBC reservation, HRD is simultaneously receiving representations from Muslim religious leaders who want the university to be exempted on the ground that its overwhelming character is of a minority institution.
But Jamia, a central university, is not a minority institution. Ministry sources feel Jamia might have a role to play in the representations from religious leaders. "Jamia's official stand that it wants to implement OBC reservation and the representations from religious leaders have often come to the ministry at the same time."
Jamia sources, however, deny that the university has anything to do with the representations. "This is between the government and the community. The university has nothing to do with it," a highly-placed Jamia official said.
As for Jamia's plea seeking more time, HRD sources said, the ministry is opposed to it because it would mean rewarding a poor performer. "There are institutions like IITs/IIMs and many central universities who went out of the way to implement OBC reservation in a staggered manner from 2007. Why should then Jamia be given extra time? It would set a bad precedent," the sources said. Though the final decision has been left to HRD minister Kapil Sibal, the sources said the matter is likely to reach the Prime Minister's Office.
A Jamia official said, "We have told the ministry it will be better if you give us some time. We will nevertheless follow the government's instructions."
All this puts a question mark on the implementation of OBC reservation in Jamia from the 2010 academic session.