Reality Check India

Stephens quota – a reality check

Posted in Uncategorized by realitycheck on July 15, 2008

So there is a hullabaloo over the Christian quota for faculty at St Stephens. Teachers are boycotting classes and are serving an ultimatum to the management.

I just watched a program on CNN-IBN where a speaker from the Delhi Diocese (sorry could not get his name – Immanuel I think) put Sagarika Ghose and everyone else in their place. It was brilliant !

The exchange went (rephrased by me):

Guest 1 : By announcing a faculty quota, you have thrown all norms of academic excellence out the window. It is unconstitutional.

Diocese Rep : What exactly is this academic excellence ? The only excellence we seek is to serve as per the wishes of Jesus Christ.

Sums it up perfectly.

I wish to ask all those who are dismayed at the events at their favourite elite college.

What part of “Christian Minority Institution” do you not understand ?

Sure they allowed themselves over the years to become a elite-crowd-attracting, influence-peddling hub. This does not mean they cannot correct their course. Fellas, this is how it is meant to be. You think St Stephens is an open institute of secular academic excellence. It is not and is not meant to be. In fact, if it were to act open and secular, then it would be unconstitutional.

The position of Reality Check India is clear.

St Stephens and all other minority institutes must admit at least 80-90% students from their own community. Otherwise, it just turns into a “regular college with management belonging to the minority community”.  St Johns and CMC Vellore are examples where a large majority of students and even faculty are from the Christian community. I believe CMC Vellore at least is doing good service to its community. St Stephens must also be free to follow their lead.

Previously on Reality Check

St Stephens hikes quotas , Guha gets it wrong on St Stephens , Rev Valson Thampu administers a reality check , Quota slippery slope

Advertisements

13 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Cupid said, on July 16, 2008 at 1:07 am

    I agree. Frankly, I don’t understand the hype. Why does a quota at St. Stephen need to be a national issue? It is just one liberal arts college in a large country albeit a good one. But then…there are a number of other similarly good colleges as well.

    Barkha Dutt’s lament was that the minimum percentage required has been reduced so as to admit more Christian candidates and a gold medal-winning non-christian faculty candidate was rejected in favor of a mediocre christian candidate. Again, who said that institutions must only foster excellence and merit? St.Stephen’s has every right to rot if it so chooses and no one can deny it the perfectly legitimate right to go down the drain singing ‘Praise be the Lord’ all the way.

    And of course, those who are so concerned with its well-being need to ask themselves why they have such little say in its affairs. If the alumni are so concerned with their college, maybe they need to step up their contributory checks to gain more influence in the internal affairs of their alma mater.

  2. Barbarindian said, on July 16, 2008 at 3:35 am

    The media people is unhappy because it hits closer to home. When quotas for tech/med/biz etc. are discussed, they sing a very different tune.

  3. Nitin Pai said, on July 16, 2008 at 7:30 am

    RC,

    Nice post. But you make one logical error:
    It is not and is not meant to be. In fact, if it were to act open and secular, then it would be unconstitutional.

    You are right to say that if they act closed and non-secular, then it would be constitutional. It does not follow that if they act open and secular, it will be unconstitutional. The point is that they are given the freedom to do what they like.

  4. realitycheck said, on July 16, 2008 at 9:18 am

    NItin,

    >> It does not follow that if they act open and secular, it will be unconstitutional. The point is that they are given the freedom to do what they like. >>

    No. They really do have to discriminate favourably on the basis of the Christian religion. If not, it makes their “Christian minority” status illegitimate. Throughout Kerala and Tamilnadu you find private Christian institutes that are just using their religious status to run multicrore universities. For them, the enabling law is just a business sop that is not available to the majority community.

    The question then is to what extent must they favour their community. I think it should be 80, 90 or even 100%.

    But then again, such control of mightly educational institutes must be taken into account when granting Christian groups OBC status. Oops !!

  5. Cupid said, on July 16, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    >>They really do have to discriminate favourably on the basis of the Christian religion. If not, it makes their “Christian minority” status illegitimate.>>

    What is the basis for this? Neither the St.Stephen’s college opinion nor the prevailing TMA Pai judgment says that they are required to do so. They are only given a choice to reserve up to 50% of their seats.

  6. realitycheck said, on July 16, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Cupid,

    From an earlier post (search this blog for TMA Pai ) https://realitycheck.wordpress.com/?s=TMA+Pai&submit=

    >> The law today allows minority institutes to admit up to 50% students from other groups. It is simply astounding that such a law exists, but this is the judgement of a 11-judge bench in the TMA Pai Vs State of Karnataka case. >>

    The are free to admit upto 50% from other communities, but it is at their pleasure. Although the thrust of the Pai case was unaided colleges, I think it holds for all.

    For example :It would be illegal for St Stephens to not favour Christians at all, or cap Christians at 5 % or 10%. They should not be receiving government funds in that scenario.

  7. […] Reality Check India on the issue of reservations for students from minority communities in certain educational institutions. Posted by Neha Viswanathan Share This […]

  8. […] all the controversies and protests over the reservations at St Stevens, Reality Check India takes a different stance and says: St Stephens and all other minority institutes must admit at […]

  9. புருனோ said, on July 20, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    What is your take on the Rajasthan Quota which seems to exceed 50 %

  10. ravi srinivas said, on July 25, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    I had written about the quota issue in minority institutions in this blog last year. The ghosts resurface again. I would agree with Guha on this issue.
    The time has come to review the whole issue of minority institutions and their rights, particularly when they are funded by state. The SC in Pai judgment stated that state should be the unit to decide the minority/majority status. I understand a draft bill to give effect to that is
    still there. If this norm is applied muslims will cease to be minorities in J&K and christians in some NE states.

  11. realitycheck said, on July 26, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Ravi,

    >>Pai judgment stated that state should be the unit to decide the minority/majority status. >>

    It will still have very little effect. Whatever little effect it does have will be undesirable. For example : It is a stretch to call either Muslims or Christians a minority in Kerala requiring special status in order to protect their culture.

    Minority institutions (if they exist) cannot be secular schools of excellence. St Stephens / Loyola etc must resemble seminaries more than colleges. I believe this was the whole idea behind minority institutes.

    At the moment, it is just a business incentive protected by the constitution.

    I think it is good that St Stephens has woken up to their original call. I think Rev Thampu deserves some of the credit for this. It would have been dead easy for him to just follow the good old path of catering to Delhis elite Hindu secular wine sipping crowd.

  12. புருனோ said, on August 4, 2008 at 2:54 am

    Hope this is interesting for you

    http://payanangal.blogspot.com/2008/06/500.html

  13. […] strange thing about all this is, that the minority institutions especially the elite ones such as St Stephens and St Xaviers admit a lot (maybe even a majority of Hindus) and the courses offered are secular […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: