A showcause notice issued by Jawaharlal Nehru University to a doctoral student appears to attribute to the complainant the power of time travel and to the accused the capability of being at two places at the same time.
Kaushik Raj, final-year PhD student of Spanish studies, has been hauled up over a complaint filed on October 26, 2021, for an alleged offence that took place on the campus on a later date: November 12, 2021.
These are the dates mentioned in the notice served on him by the proctor’s office on August 31.
Kaushik, apart from highlighting that the complaint predates the alleged offence, told The Telegraph that he was abroad on both dates.
Kaushik said he had left for Spain on October 22, 2021, for an academic programme related to his course, and returned on July 1 this year.
Kaushik cited the notice as an example of the university administration’s “arbitrary” ways and alleged he was being targeted for his association with the Left student group Aisa.
“A complaint dated 26th October 2021 against you has been received in chief proctor’s office from librarian,” the notice says.
“In the said complaint, it has been alleged that you were creating nuisance, misbehaved and threatened librarian and library staff when asked to show the ID card at the library entrance on 12th November 2021.”
The notice summons him on Thursday.
Kaushik told this newspaper: “The administration had served this notice earlier (in July) too. I went to the proctor’s office and asked them how a complaint could mention an incident from a future date and told them I was abroad on both dates.
“They said ‘yes, there were some errors’, and they would take care of it. Now (a similar) notice has come again. This is happening because of my association with Aisa. This is arbitrary and unjustified.”
The August 31 notice adds: “Upon failing to present yourself on the date and time appointed for the hearing, it shall be presumed that you have nothing to say in this matter and that you agree with the complaint. In such circumstances, the matter will be decided in your absence.”
Kaushik faces action with five other students also on the charge of disrupting a seminar related to American studies in 2018. The students have denied involvement in the protest but an inquiry by the administration held them guilty. M. Jagadesh Kumar was the vice-chancellor at the time.
After sitting on the matter for years, the administration of the current VC, Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, last month slapped a Rs 10,000 fine on each of the six. It also debarred them from registering for the current semester, which starts this month.
“We gave our responses orally and in writing in 2018. No action was taken. But last month, we were told we would not be allowed to register for the current semester. This is denial of education,” Kaushik said.
Kaushik has appealed to the university to withdraw the fine and allow him to register for the current monsoon semester. If he fails to register, his work will be delayed, he says, giving the university an opportunity to cite the slow progress to cancel his registration for the PhD course.
If the university does not respond to his appeal, he will move court, Kaushik said.
An email to the VC seeking her comments on the allegations of arbitrary action remains unanswered.