Faculty from reserved categories at Banaras Hindu University will lose around half their current representation if the University Grants Commission’s new formula to calculate quotas in teaching jobs comes into effect.

Scheduled Castes will have almost 60% fewer posts reserved for them while posts reserved for the Scheduled Tribes will go down by 80%, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday, citing data shared by the university. The figure for Other Backward Classes is around 30%.

The Centre has cited the BHU’s data in its special leave petition filed in the Supreme Court in March against an Allahabad High Court judgement that asked for the new formula. The government said in its petition that the formula “drastically reduces, and, in many departments completely wipes out, the representation of members of SC/ST community”.

The UGC’s order for the new formula in March followed the April 2017 judgement of the High Court. The Supreme Court upheld the High Court order later.

The order requires universities to calculate the number of reserved faculty posts for individual departments – and not for the entire institution as a whole, as was done earlier. The very few vacant posts in several departments may not leave enough seats for reserved categories.

For example, when up to 15 seats are to be filled, the seventh seat is reserved for a Scheduled Caste candidate and the 14th for a candidate from a Scheduled Tribe. According to the new formula, a department with six or fewer faculty posts will no longer have any seats reserved for reserved classes.

The old formula meant that the BHU had 289 posts for SCs, 143 for STs and 310 for OBCs out of 1,930 faculty posts as in May 2017. However, taking vacancies in each department individually, this comes down to 119, 29 and 220, respectively, The Indian Express reported.

“In a department, there usually is a single vacancy, and reservation will not be possible for a single position,” PS Krishnan, a former bureaucrat, had told the Hindustan Times in March. “It is because of this problem that the government decided to bunch together similar posts with similar pay scales and qualifications so reservation became possible.”

The UGC has informed institutions of the Centre’s petition in the Supreme Court, but has not withdrawn its order yet in the fear of being accused of contempt of court, unidentified officials told the newspaper.