New Delhi, Oct. 19: Human resource development minister Kapil Sibal has decided to ask IIT Kharagpur to review its indefinite suspension of a whistleblower professor.
Rajiv Kumar, a professor in the computer science department, was suspended in May 2011 for “misconduct”. He was charged with damaging the reputation of the institute by making allegations on several issues, from purchase of laptops to copying in examinations.
After three months, Kumar had asked if any committee was reviewing his suspension. The Central Civil Service Rules of 1965, which apply to central institutions, lay down that an organisation has to set up a committee to review a suspension within three months. The IIT issued him a letter saying his suspension would continue “till further orders”.
Kumar later moved the Central Vigilance Commission, which asked the ministry to direct the institute to set up a review committee. It also said the central civil service rules apply to the institute.
“On the basis of the views of the CVC, the minister has favoured setting up of a review committee. The institute has said his rejoining will spoil the academic atmosphere. But there is no evidence to such an argument. The ministry will communicate the views of the minister and CVC to the institute,” a source said.
Institute registrar T.K. Ghoshal, however, claimed the suspension has been reviewed by the IIT’s board of governors.
“IIT Kharagpur does not follow the CCS Rules as it has framed its own statutory rules. His suspension has been reviewed by the BoG as per our own statutory rules,” Ghoshal said.
Sibal’s note is expected to be sent to the IIT on Monday.
The minister has also asked his ministry to forward to the President Kumar’s demand to change the inquiry officer investigating his suspension case.
A panel under Justice Ranojit Mitra has been examining the charges against Kumar. The professor wants the inquiry officer changed since “due procedures were not being followed”.
Kumar’s efforts to point out flaws in IIT-JEE and seek reform were hailed by the Supreme Court, which described him as an “unsung hero”. Hearing his petition, the Supreme Court last August had directed the IITs to upgrade and finetune the student selection process. Examinees were this year allowed to take back a carbon copy of answer sheets and an exit policy was introduced to let students surrender seats allotted to them that they didn’t want.
The professor also alleged that rampant copying was on in the examinations. Without investigating the allegations, the IIT dismissed them as baseless and said Kumar intended to tarnish the image of the institute.