JNU teachers censure VC

New Delhi: JNU teachers have severely criticised vice-chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar's use of his discretionary powers to constitute selection panels and the dilution of reservation norms in admissions.

The JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA), which has been holding public hearings against Kumar since Monday, accused the VC of "ignoring" the established procedure of constituting selection panels and taking "arbitrary" decisions such as refusing marks relaxation to SC, ST and OBC candidates during admission.

The jury members - Gauhar Raza, Kirti Jain and Utsa Patnaik - were unanimous on the "violations" by the VC.

Bringing the charges against Kumar, professors Bishnupriya Dutt and Kunal Chakrabarti said that according to JNU rules and statutes, each centre or school recommends names to be considered as experts for selection panels. After the statutory bodies approve the panels, the VC takes a call on the experts.

However, Kumar allegedly invoked a 1997 executive council resolution that authorised the VC to add names to the list of experts. Dutt said that resolution was not part of the official minute of the meeting but an annexure, questioning its authenticity.

The 2010 UGC regulations on the appointment of teachers, which is supposed to be binding on all central universities, too says the VC will invite experts from the list approved by the statutory body of the varsity.

Kumar, however, has constituted about 30 selection panels inviting experts chosen by him.

Under Kumar, JNU stopped the practice of relaxing qualifying marks in written admission tests for SCs, STs and OBCs. Now, the university considers a uniform 50 per cent as the minimum qualifying marks, resulting in a sharp drop in the admission of students from these categories this academic session.

Repeated calls to Kumar went unanswered.

The JNU administration on Wednesday issued a media release stating that the entrance exams for the 2018-19 academic year to various undergraduate, graduate, MPhil and PhD programmes would be conducted from December 27 to 30.

There will be 720 MPhil and PhD seats this year, a seven-fold increase over last year. JNU has earmarked 81 exam centres in various cities and towns across India and one in Kathmandu. The results will be announced in April.


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