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The notions of ritual purity and pollution hierarchically grades people according to their castes, and this hierarchy is socially expressed in terms of unequal rights to space, and the idea of ‘untouchability’ is socially realized either in terms of a complete denial or the most inferior participation. As a corrective measure of the historical injustices to certain sections of the society, the state and union governments in India have enacted reservation policies in education and employment. Nevertheless, the administrators of several institutions show reluctance in implementing reservations in letter and spirit, despite the fact that the University Grants Commission has emphasized about proper implementation of reservations at various points in time. The demand for proper implementation of Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, subsequently amended in 2012, in Pondicherry University exposes how an ambiguity inherent in the act’s amended version has been used to justify the systematic exclusion of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe doctoral aspirants in several departments of the university. Based on interactions with the university administration, the essay attempts to understand the politics behind the method of implementing reservations in admissions in higher education. It emphasizes that the bodies governing higher education should provide proper directions in regard to the implementation of the act. It further calls for the establishment of administrative mechanisms, directly under the apex regulatory bodies, to oversee implementation of reservation policies in all the government educational institutions.
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