Delhi High Court has recently ruled in favour of Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) which had challenged the new faculty appointment procedure brought in by the Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar.
In September 2017, Kumar, through an amendment of regulation M -18, had delegated to himself the power to add names to the panel of experts which decides on new appointments. This changed the earlier procedures, weakening the Academic Council’s role in faculty appointments.
Justice C Hari Shankar issued the order stating that “the panel, including the names added by the VC, if any, would have to be recommended by the Academic Council and, thereafter put up to the Executive Council for approval, and it is only thereafter that the panel could operate for effecting selections to faculty positions”.
In a statement, the JNUTA welcomed the court’s order and claimed that the panel of experts has to be approved by the Academic Council. “The Vice Chancellor thus far needs the Academic Council recommendation and approval and it is only thereafter that the panel could operate for affecting selections to faculty positions. Without this procedure being followed, no valid panel of experts can be created. M-18 therefore cannot delegate the power of Academic Council to the Executive Council and then further to the Vice-Chancellor,” read the statement.
During the case hearing, the JNU counsel argued that the university’s Academic Council has no jurisdiction in faculty selections. The court, in its order, found it “surprising that the JNU is seeking to argue contrary to its own statutes”.
“The integrity of the faculty recruitment process in JNU has been hugely compromised by the manifold illegalities committed by the Vice chancellor Prof. M Jagadesh Kumar. JNU teachers have been relentless in their opposition, and this order of the High Court has put the indelible stamp of justice on their efforts. But in the face of willful errancy by a rogue administration, including defiance of court orders, the need of the hour is for all teachers to stand in defence of the JNU Act more than ever before,” stated JNUTA.