Days after teachers alleged compromise of statutes and rules by the administration in JNU, the internal correspondence of teachers and the Chancellor of the university suggests that the appointment of the teachers in Special Centre for Disaster Research was allegedly conducted by ignoring the specialisations for which the posts were advertised. The new centre in JNU was established with the National Institute of Disaster Management in 2017.
The centre had three sanctioned positions from the University Grants Commission for the first batch of MA/ PhD students. The advertisement for the post of Assistant Professor (Unreserved) read that the candidate should have "Ph.D., preferably in Disaster Law and desirable experience of comparative case studies, emergency governance and judicial responses to disasters." Similarly, the advertisement also maintained that the candidate should have a Ph.D. in Geography/Geo-spatial Sciences, preferably with field experience of studies on disaster-affected remote regions in the country.
However, the profile of the selected candidates states that their specialisations were far way from the desirable qualifications and experience. Reports suggest that while one candidate who has been appointed to teach hails from the corporate law background, another candidate has a PhD in community medicine. The appointments have triggered sharp criticisms from the faculty members and scholars associated with the centre. The teachers also allege that the candidates with years of experience were outright rejected.
Talking to NewsClick, a senior professor said, “The recruitments were done without considering the merit of the candidates. It is happening across the centres.” When asked about the role of the Vice Chancellor, the professor said, “I guess the dictates are from somewhere else as he is caring about who is getting appointed.” Another professor who retired from the centre said, “The process may hamper the research quality of the entire institution. The teachers have already expressed concerns about it. It speaks volumes about it.”
Also read: JNU Academic Council’s Approval Necessary in Faculty Appointments: Delhi HC
NewsClick also talked to one of the candidates who was interviewed for the position. He said, “I have four books to my credit with regard to glaceology. My work is also centred around the impact of climate change in Lahaul Spiti region and how it affects the local communities. I have even published papers in Science and other renowned journals. When I appeared for the interview, the interviewers asked me to keep all this aside. I guess they were interested in something else. With this treatment, all I can do is feel pity at the whole process.
Commenting on the recruitments, D K Lobiyal, president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association, said, “We came to know about the recruitments from the media reports. We have always maintained that the current Vice Chancellor is no longer interested in the statutes and act governing the university. In my centre too, we saw how a candidate was appointed even when his name was rejected by the screening committee.” He maintained that the appointments must be cancelled as it severely affects the quality of research in the university. He said, “The university has been known for its excellence in humanities and sciences across the world. The current administration is maligning its image and bring a bad name to its repute.”
Repeated attempts to get any information from Jawaharlal Nehru University officials regarding recruitments did not yield any results.