In this article, we will discuss the roster system in a simple and easy way and try to understand the math behind the reservation.

For the sake of understanding, this entire reservation article has been divided into four main parts. This is its fourth part. Before reading this, you must read the first, second and third part of it, there we have discussed the basic elements of reservation in India [1/4] , constitutional basis of reservation [2/4] and Evolution of reservation [3/4 ] respectively. Read all the related articles for better understanding.

remember this here That the roster system is not very clear and simple, it has changed a lot from time to time and the roster system may be different for center and state or province. Also, many related matters are pending in the court.

Since the entire reservation system revolves around Fundamental Rights (especially the Right to Equality), we suggest that you at least have a look at the Fundamental Rights for a better understanding.

📌 Join YouTube📌 Join FB Group
📌 Join Telegram📌 Like FB Page
📖 Read This Story in Hindi

| What is roster?

The term roster is used to refer to a list or plan showing or managing duties, appointments or leave, etc., for individuals or groups in an organization.

We can easily understand this from the roster’s synonyms ; listing, register, schedule, agenda, calendar, roll, directory Etc. are synonyms of Roster.

With regard to reservation in India, roster is a system of distribution of SC, ST, OBC and general category persons in different posts, under which it is tried to ensure that the percentage of reservation for which classes have been arranged. He should get that much.

Simply put, it is a list under which appointments are made. We know that SC (15%), ST (7.5%) and OBC (27%) get vertical reservation and others (like women, differently abled etc.) get horizontal reservation.

As per the judgment given by the Supreme Court in Indra Sawhney case, the total reservation should not exceed 50 per cent. Till here we understand very well that SC has 15 percent reservation i.e. if there are total 100 seats then SC will get 15 seats, ST will get 7.5 seats and OBC will get 27 seats.

But when we look at it practically, it is not that easy. This is because there are different organizations, there are different departments in it and in that also officers or staff with different specializations are working at different levels.

It does not happen that if there are 100 officers or staff in a department, then all will resign at once. Every year some officers retire, some are promoted and some give up their posts due to other reasons. And thus some seats are vacant on which the process of re-appointment starts.

These appointments can be filled through open competitive examinations or without competitive examination. But the question remains that how these vacancies should be filled so that the pre-determined reservation available to all the categories can be ensured. To do this, we have adopted the rule, it is called roster .

| Vacancy Based Roster v/s Post Based Roster

Obviously, a class called OBC (Other Backward Class)  came into existence from 1993, that is, before that only SC and ST used to get reservation. OBC also joined it since 1993 and now they also get reservation.

Prior to July 1997, the roster was maintained on the basis of vacancy. Which is called vacancy based roster. On the 1995 RK Sabharwal v. In the State of Punjab case, the Supreme Court said, the reservation should be decided on the basis of the number of posts in the cadre and not on the basis of vacancies. But this will happen once all the reserved categories reach that prescribed percentage.

The basic principle of post based reservation is that the number of posts filled by reservation for any category in a cadre should be equal to the quota prescribed for that category. That is, if there are 100 posts in a cadre, then 15 posts for SC, 7 or 8 posts for ST and 27 posts for OBC will be reserved at any time. It cannot be more than this, even if it becomes less.

Let us understand it in detail with examples –

Suppose 1000 posts have been fixed in a department or cadre. So initially when it will be filled then due to 27 percent reservation 270 seats will be filled by OBC, due to 15 percent reservation 150 seats will be filled by SC and due to 7.5 percent reservation 75 seats will be filled by ST. Now suppose next year due to some reason 400 seats become vacant again then in such situation 108 seats will be filled by OBC, 60 seats will be filled by SC and 30 seats will be filled by ST. Suppose again that next year 200 seats become vacant and recruitments are made on it. So again the same process will be followed and 27 percent OBC, 7.5 percent ST and 15 percent SC will get reservation on the entire vacancy. It is called Vacancy Based Roster .

Now again take the above example and let’s assume that the initial 1000 seats have been distributed according to the reservation and again next year 200 posts become vacant and vacancies are drawn on that. In this 200 posts, let’s assume that 20 seats are vacant for SC, 10 seats are vacant for ST and 34 seats are vacant for OBC.

Now if we look as before, according to that out of 200 seats, 54 seats should be given to OBC, 30 seats to SC and 15 seats to ST. But this does not happen in post based roster. That is, it does not talk about the vacancy, but talks about the post which is vacant. In this way, out of 200 posts, SC will get only 20 seats, ST will get 10 seats and OBC will get 34 seats. After that the remaining 136 seats will go to the general category. This is called post based roster , on which we are running after 1997.

Obviously, according to the example you saw above, SC lost 10 seats, ST lost 5 seats and OBC lost 20 seats. But imagine yourself, if these seats were given to SC, ST and OBC, then in each case its reservation percentage would have increased and overall the percentage of reserved seats in the entire cadre would have gone beyond 50 Percent.

Note – Here we have not talked about EWS category as it is also controversial. This is because after its arrival, the reservation limit will go beyond 50 percent. This matter is pending in the Supreme Court. However, 10 percent reservation is being given. But until things are completely clear, a lot of things will remain complicated.

| Two Important Types of Roster

The two important types of roster are the 13 point roster and the 200 point roster. And this is what we are going to discuss, however, remember here that there can be other types of roster like 100 point roster is used for local recruitment.

200 point roster

The 200-point roster system is applicable to a cadre that has 14 or more employees, while the 13-point roster is applicable to a cadre where there are 2-13 employees in the cadre.

This arrangement is called the “200 point” roster because the 200th post completes a full loop or cycle. And the whole pattern repeats itself starting from the 201st post. That is to say, if 400 vacancies come out, then there will be recruitment from 1 to 200 first, then there will be recruitment from 1 to 200, not directly from 1 to 400.

Here each seat from 1 to 200 has been earmarked for a certain category and recruitment can be done on those seats only according to the category for which they have been earmarked.

How is it determined?

A permanent position in the roster for any reserved group is obtained by dividing 100 by the percentage of reservation quota. For example, OBC quota is 27%, therefore, they get 100/27 = 3.7, i.e. every fourth post for which a vacancy will arise will be for OBC. [Remember here that whole numbers are always taken. Because person is integer and not in decimal]

Similarly, SC gets 100/15 = 6.66, i.e. every 7th term, and ST gets 100/7.5 = 13.33, i.e. every 14th term.

It can also be calculated in another way, such as divide the percentage of reservation by 100 and then calculate the multiples until a whole number is reached.

For example, if we take SC which gets 15 percent reservation. So dividing it by 100 gives 0.15 and multiplying it by 7 gives a whole number so the 7th seat of the roster goes to the SC category.

Here you will see that the lower the percentage of reservation provided to a category, the more time it will take for the candidate of that category to get appointed to the reserved post.

🔹 There is also a problem in this that different reserved categories get qualified for the same place, in such a situation the seats are pushed back and forth. For example, taking the 14th post, then by law this post should go to the SC as the seventh post belongs to him. And to be his post in multiples of 7 his 14th post must be his but it does not happen. The 14th post is given to the ST category, this is because due to low reservation percentage, there is a delay in getting reservation.

🔹 In the same way, if we take the 20th post, then it should be given to OBC because in the multiples of 4 he got the 8th, 12th, 16th seat. Then if we see from the point of view of EWS, then he should get 20th seat because he got 10th seat. But this does not happen, to make the balance 19th seat is given to OBC, 20th seat is given to SC and 21st seat is given to EWS.

🔹 The special feature of the 200 point roster is that out of every 200 seats, 30 SCs, 15 STs and 54 OBCs get the same, which is the same as the percentage of reservation they have got. Now here you can understand why 200 point roster is adopted why not 100 point roster. Because 7.5 percent ST will face problem in the situation of reservation, because as we have discussed above also the person is not in decimal but in absolute. ST gets 15 seats in the 200 point roster which is complete. Here you will also see that in the 200 point roster, a total of 99 seats go to the reserved category (excluding EWS) which is less than 50 percent and is consistent with the upper limit given by the Supreme Court.

Note – The 200 point roster is usually implemented in central establishments. Whereas 100 point roster can be used in local recruitments. This is because the percentage of different communities is different in different states. For example, in Chhattisgarh, STs get 32 ​​percent reservation, so 100 point roster can easily be implemented there.

Out of 200 seats, each category gets the following seats: 30 (SC), 15 (ST), 54 (OBC) and 20 (EWS). So for example, 21 government employees will be recruited in the following pattern:

1. UR8. OBC15. SC
2. UR9. UR16. OBC
3. UR10. UR/EWS17. UR
4. OBC11. UR18. UR
5. UR12. OBC19. OBC
6. UR13. UR20. SC
7. SC14. ST 21. UR/EWS

If roster numbers 4, 7, 10 and 12 employees retire this year, the vacancies will have to be filled from the categories prescribed by those categories (i.e, OBC, SC, EWS, OBC). ,

13 point roster or L-shaped roster

As we have seen above, in the 200 point roster, all the reserved categories get at least one seat at the 14th position. However, ST gets only one position (14th position). That is, in such government departments where there are 14 or less seats, then 13 point roster can be implemented. (It can also be called a 14 point roster.)

In other words, “13 point roster” reflects the fact that 14 vacancies are required to complete one cycle of reservation.

Based on this, every 4th, 7th, 8th, 12th and 14th vacancies in the 13 point roster are reserved for OBC, SC, OBC, OBC, ST respectively. This means that there is no reservation for the first three posts and, even in the entire cycle of 14 posts, only five posts go to the reserved categories. That is, if it is taken out in percentage, then it is 35.71%, which is much less than the constitutionally mandated. Because constitutionally 49.5% (excluding EWS) should be given. [OBC 27% + SC 15% + ST 7.5%]. That is why it is criticized a lot on this point.

Now the question comes that why 13 point roster is adopted, in its place 200 point roster can also be adopted!

Yes, a 200 point roster can be used instead, but there is a risk of losing all reserved or all unreserved persons in a single department. Keeping this in mind, the Allahabad High Court had made arrangements to adopt a 13 point roster.

How does the 13-point roster system work?

All employees in the 13-point roster are recruited in the same pattern as the first 14 points of the 200-point roster i.e. UR, UR, UR, OBC, UR, UR, SC, OBC, UR, EWS , UR, OBC, UR, ST, after which the pattern repeats itself. Whereas the 200 point roster repeats after 200. Since there is no reservation for a single post, the 13 point roster system is applicable only for the cadre between 2-13 employees.

Let us understand with an example how it works;

Suppose there is a department which has 5 employees. The five employees will be recruited based on the shaded part of the 13 point roster in the table below.


Remember here that the initial recruitment is done in a vertical pattern as you can see in the chart and the subsequent appointments are done in a horizontal pattern, this forms an L shape hence it is called an L-shaped roster also.

This pattern will repeat itself after every 14 appointments. For example, 5th vacancy will be recruited from EWS category, 9th vacancy will be from ST category, and 10th vacancy will be recruited from Unreserved (UR) category.

[Remember here that 5th vacancy will be filled by EWS only when EWS is applicable, if it is not there then a person of UR category will come in its place.]

In the 5-employee example given above, a SC candidate would be entitled to reservation in case the second vacancy occurs, while a ST candidate would have to wait till the 9th vacancy. This may take a long time.

And secondly there are only 5 employees, that’s why in order to maintain the 50% rule, at any point of time not more than 2 employees can belong to the reserved categories. Unlike the 200-point roster, reservations here are by rotation and posts are not earmarked for any category.

| Controversy between 13 point and 200 point rosters

Before understanding its controversy, let us understand what are the drawbacks of 13 point roster.

Suppose there are 5 professors in the Hindi department of a central university. Now if reservation is made considering this department as a unit, then obviously 13 point roster will work here. In such a situation, at no time more than 2 out of these five seats will be available to the reserved category, because getting more than this will violate the 50% rule. When the preliminary recruitment of these five seats will take place, then only one reserved category (OBC) seat will come in it because it comes at number four. SC will not get the seat because it comes at number 7. In such a situation, when there is a second recruitment or 2nd replacement, then an SC will get a seat. That is, a person belonging to the SC category may have to wait for many years and the person of the ST category may have to wait for even more years.

Now suppose again that there are 40 other departments including Hindi department in the whole university. And there are 5-5 professors in all the departments. That is, there are 200 professors in the whole university, now if the whole university is considered as one unit and then reservation is given, then the situation will be different. Because there are 200 professors i.e. 200 seats, that’s why 200 point roster will work here and according to this roster, all the reserved category person will get their seat. This is because in this way a total of 99 seats will be given to the reserved classes. Those 99 persons can be divided into different departments. And then further the department in which the reserved category’s seat is vacant can be filled by the same reserved category person.

So the advantage of 200 point roster is that since the whole university is considered as a unit under this, the number of vacancies in it increases and it becomes relatively easy for reserved categories to get seats. However, its weak point is that there is a danger of filling all the reserved or all the unreserved persons in a single department.

If we take the 13 point roster, and it happens that there are at least 14 vacancies in each department, then the situation will be different for everyone but this is not usually the case as there are usually only 3, 4 or 5 professors in the departments. In such a situation, suppose that there are only 3 teachers in a department, then according to the 13 point roster, the number of the reserved category person will not come and 100% reservation will go to the general category.

On these grounds, the 200 point roster looks better than the 13 point roster. And this continued, but in April 2017 the Allahabad High Court in Vivekanand Tiwari v. In the case of Union of India , it has been said that for reservation of teaching posts in universities, the department will be taken as a unit and not the university. And also said the following things,

(1) The Court set aside the judgment (section 8A (v)) delivered in the RK Sabharwal case 1995, which referred to the applicability of the roster to the total number of posts in the cadre.

(2) The Court held that an Associate Professor of Subject ‘A’ cannot be an applicant for direct appointment as Associate Professor in Subject ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘D’ . He can apply for the post in subject ‘A’ only. 

(3) Even though the Assistant Professor, Reader, Associate Professor and Professor of each subject or department are placed in the same pay scale, their services are neither transferable nor in competition with each other. That is why it is completely impractical to mix similar level of posts by treating the university as a ‘unit’. This would be a violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.

The matter went to the Supreme Court and in June 2017, the Supreme Court upheld this decision. Keeping this decision in mind, in March 2018, UGC issued a new guideline on the basis of 13 point roster. And then the protests that started posed a challenge to the government. And the government filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court to reconsider it, but in January 2019, the Supreme Court rejected it.

Lok Sabha elections were on the head, in such a situation, the government did not want the public to get angry about this subject, so the government issued an ordinance on it and again implemented the 200 point roster.

When the NDA government came to power again, in July 2019, it changed this ordinance to The Central Government Institutions (Reservations in teacher cadre), Act 2019 . And that’s what’s going on right now.

Remember here that this was only a dispute related to the Central University. Other departments related to central services such as the Department of Personal and Training (DoPT) already use the 200 point roster. That is, the reservation under Central SSC and UPSC etc. used to work only on 200 point roster.

If this is understood, then let us now understand the math behind shortfall and backlog.

| The Mathematics Behind Shortfall and Backlog

While filling up the vacancies in a year, efforts will be made to fill the shortfall of reservation for all the three categories, i.e. SC, ST and OBC, however, for SC, ST and OBC The total number of vacancies reserved for the post does not exceed 50% of the vacancies for the year.

The 50% reservation limit on filling up of reserved vacancies will be applicable only to those vacancies which arise in the current year or arise in case of backlog reserved vacancies of SC, ST and OBC in case of direct recruitment or SC and ST Backlog of tribe arises on promotion in earlier years in case of reserved vacancies; will be treated as a separate and distinct group , and the total vacancies of that year will not be considered along with the reserved vacancies of that year for determining the limit of 50% reservation.

Note 1: Shortfall of reservation for a particular reserved category in a cadre means the difference between ‘the total number of posts reserved for that category in the cadre’ and ‘the number of persons in that category who are eligible for reservation’ appointed by and holding posts.

Note 2 : Backlog reserved vacancies of a category are those vacancies which were kept reserved for that category in the earlier recruitment year but remained incomplete in the previous recruitment attempt due to non-availability of suitable candidates belonging to that category .

Let us understand this with an example –

There is a cadre having total 1000 posts which are filled by direct recruitment on all India basis through open competition. The number of SC, ST and OBC employees appointed by reservation in the cadre should ideally be 150, 75 and 270 respectively if all the posts are filled.

Suppose in the year 2020 all 1000 posts were filled but the number of SC, ST and OBC employees appointed by reservation were 130, 75 and 100 respectively. Thus, there was a shortfall of 20 SCs and 170 OBCs in the cadre that year, though all the posts were filled.

(A) Suppose there were 200 vacancies in the cadre in the recruitment year 2021, out of which 20 vacancies were vacated by SC, 10 by ST and rest by unreserved category candidates. After the vacancy of these posts, the shortfall of SC, ST and OBC in the cadre became 40, 10 and 170 respectively. Though there was a major shortage of SC, ST and OBC in the cadre, only 100 of these vacancies could be kept reserved as all the 200 vacancies were current vacancies and the 50% limit on reservation in a year would be applicable to these vacancies.

(B) The SC and OBC shortage was more than 15% and 27% respectively of the existing vacancies. Therefore, 15% of the existing vacancies were directly reserved for SC and 27% for OBC, i.e. 30 vacancies were reserved for SC and 54 for OBC. The ST shortage was 10 which is less than 7.5% of the total vacancies. Hence, only 10 vacancies were kept reserved for ST.

Applying the above principle, 94 vacancies were kept reserved. 6 {100-(30+54+10)} more vacancies are to be kept reserved to meet this shortfall. These 6 vacancies were divided between SC and OBC in proportion to the percentage of reservation prescribed for these categories. 15:27, i.e. 2 for SC and 4 for OBC (number coming here rounded off to the nearest whole number). However, while making such distribution, it should be kept in mind that the number of vacancies reserved for any category should not exceed the shortfall in that category.

Thus, the final determination of reservation in respect of vacancies for the year 2021 was 32 for SC, 10 for ST and 58 for OBC.

(C) Suppose that only 20 SC candidates, 5 ST candidates and 50 OBC candidates could be appointed in the recruitment year 2021 against the vacancies reserved for them. Thus, 12 vacancies of Scheduled Castes, 5 vacancies of Scheduled Tribes and 8 vacancies of Other Backward Classes which were kept reserved, could not be filled and remained vacant.

These 12 vacancies of SC, 5 vacancies of ST and 8 vacancies of OBC which were kept reserved but remained vacant in the recruitment attempt will be treated as backlog reserved vacancies for the subsequent recruitment year.

So overall after the year 2021 recruitment process is over, a total of 975 posts were filled (25 backlog left), out of which 130, 70 and 150 belonged to SC, ST and OBC respectively. It may be noted that the shortfall of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs at this stage was 20, 5 and 120 respectively. However, the number of backlog reserved vacancies of SC, ST and OBC stood at 12, 5 and 8 respectively.

(D) Suppose there were 200 vacancies in the recruitment year 2022, out of which 20 vacancies were vacated by SC, 10 by ST and 20 by OBC. The shortfall of SCs, STs and OBCs at this stage will be 40, 15 and 140 respectively.

The total vacancies in this year will be 200+12+5+8=225 out of which 200 are current vacancies and 25 are backlog vacancies. While determining the reservation, 25 backlog reserved vacancies of SC, ST and OBC will be treated as a separate and distinct group and 12 for SC, 5 for ST and 8 for OBC will be kept reserved. Out of 200 existing vacancies, not more than 100 can be kept reserved. By applying the same principles as for the year 2021, out of 200 existing vacancies, 28 can be reserved for SC, 10 for ST and 62 for OBC. Thus the number of vacancies reserved for SCs, STs and OBCs in the recruitment year 2022, including backlog reserved vacancies, will be 40, 15 and 70 respectively. If only 35 SC, 12 ST and 50 OBC become available to fill the reserved vacancies, then 5 vacancies of SC,

Hope you have understood this article, if there is any problem then read it again and try to understand, you can also comment us. Also read and share other articles related to this topic.

FAQs Related to Reservation (pdf)


R. K. Sabharwal And Ors vs State Of Punjab And Ors on 10 February, 1995
S.Vinod Kumar And Anr vs Union Of India And Ors on 1 October, 1996
the Judgment in B.K. Pavitra v Union of India-II
Reservation in Promotion Jarnail Singh v Lacchmi Narain Gupta
Reservation in Promotion (Clarifications) Jan 2022
Indra Sawhney & Others v. Union of India
M. Nagaraj & Others vs Union Of India & Others on 19 October, 2006
Department of public enterprise, document released in 2016
Virpal Singh v. Government of India 1995
Ajit Singh Janjua Vs Punjab Government Case 1996
Constitution of India revised 2020
Reservation in India
Constitution of India
Commentary on constitution (fundamental rights) – d d basu
FAQs Related to Reservation
National Commission for Scheduled Castes [NCSC
National Commission for Scheduled Tribes [NCST]
National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)
Right to Equality
Fundamental Rights Introduction : Article 12 & 13
Conflict Between Fundamental Rights and DPSP