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Reader row on campus
- Appointment draws flak, JU chancellor urged to arbitrate

A Jadavpur University teacher has urged Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi to set up a tribunal to probe the alleged irregularities in the appointment of a history lecturer as reader in the international relations (IR) department.

The complaint lodged by Kanak Sarkar, a lecturer in the IR department, stated that Rup Kumar Barman had been appointed IR reader though he had no experience of teaching the subject. Sarkar had applied for the post.

Gandhi, who is also the chancellor of the university, has written to the authorities seeking their opinion on the matter.

“The appointment to the IR reader’s post was in order. But in response to the appeal of the aggrieved teacher, the chancellor has asked the university to give its comments on the matter. We will act accordingly,” said registrar Rajat Banerjee.

The university rules state that if an aggrieved employee wants to settle the dispute in a tribunal, he/she has to write to the chancellor.

Sarkar has mentioned in the complaint that candidates with bachelors, postgraduate and Ph.D degrees in political science are usually appointed as teachers in the IR department.

“There was a serious mistake and irregularity in the process of issuing the advertisement and selecting the candidate for the post,” Sarkar wrote in the complaint.

The advertisement the university had published in 2006 did not mention that only candidates with a political science background would be considered for the post.

Sarkar and several other candidates had applied for the post. Barman was reportedly the only one without a political science background — his bachelors, postgraduate and Ph.D degrees were in history. “He had been teaching in the history department for four years till his appointment in the IR department in 2007,” said a source.

Sarkar’s complaint had triggered a controversy on campus. A section of teachers said the academic standard of the university — identified by the Centre as among the best five institutions in the country — “would decline if teachers are appointed in this way”.

“The appointment was biased,” claimed a teacher, who did not want to be named.

“There was no mention in the advertisement that candidates with degrees in history, or any other subject other than political science, are eligible for the post. The university has deprived many deserving candidates by appointing Burman as reader in the IR department,” alleged a teacher.

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