New Delhi, Sept. 10: A plan to sack UGC member Yogendra Yadav over his association with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has run into opposition from around 200 academicians.
They have submitted a joint petition to HRD minister M.M. Pallam Raju’s office contesting the ministry’s contention that Yadav’s association with the party amounted to a conflict of interest in his duties as UGC member.
Krishna Kumar, Prabhat Patnaik, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Mushirul Hasan and Nayanjot Lahiri are among those who signed the petition.
The ministry had issued Yadav a showcause on September 4. He was asked to reply within a week on why he shouldn’t be removed from the 11-member commission, but is yet to do so, sources said. The deadline ends tomorrow.
The academicians have said the sacking plan had shocked the teaching community. The UGC’s code of conduct for members doesn’t mention political activity as a potential conflict of interest, they argued.
Service rules framed in 1992 spell out grounds for disqualification but don’t include membership of a political party as one, the petition said.
The academicians have pointed out that Yadav’s persistent efforts to highlight irregularities at the commission’s meetings and question some decisions seem to have put some officials in an uncomfortable situation, suggesting there was a possibility he was being victimised.
Raju is in Paris for a Unesco event, an official said.
However, the official contended that while there may not be anything mentioned in clear terms to bar UGC members from political activities, “it is implied that a member” should not do so.