Central University of Haryana Assistant Professor Sacked for Holding ‘Invalid’ PhD
Image for representational use only.Image Courtesy : The Indian Express
An assistant professor from the Central University of Haryana (CUH) has been terminated from work, on the allegation that the PhD degree submitted at the time of his appointment is not in accord with the University Grant Commission (UGC) regulations 2010. The assistant professor, Dr. Manoj Kumar from the Department of English and Foreign Languages in the University- which is located in the Mahendragarh district of the state- was served the termination letter on Thursday, February 21, following the executive meeting held on February 19.
Grounds for Sacking Questionable
However, Kumar’s history in the university brings to question the grounds on which the decision to sack him was taken. “Pointing out the corruptions and the irregularities in the recent appointments of faculty and registrar in the University made him the target of the university administration. He had even challenged the irregularities in the appointments in court,” said Rakesh Kumar Meena, the general secretary of the CUH Teachers’ Association while speaking to NewsClick.
Dr. Kumar, who is the president of the teachers’ association in the university, was instrumental in the formation of this association and would frequently raise the issues affecting the campus. Meena added, “He recently served a legal notice to the Vice Chancellor and Registrar to initiate contempt of court proceedings in the recruitment case pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. As a result, the university has been restrained in its recruitment drive.”
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The teachers’ association in the university has termed the termination as an arbitrary and unconstitutional action. They have expressed their surprise since the termination was initiated three years after the verification processes had been passed for appointing Kumar as an assistant professor.
Kumar was awarded a PhD degree by Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar, in 2007. But it was alleged that the PhD is not in consonance with the UGC regulations 2009 and a case of “concealment of vital information” has been framed against Kumar.
Interestingly, the university administration had sent his documents three times to the Gurukul Kangri Viswavidyalaya to verify and got it done all the times. The verification dates were December 27, 2014, November 25, 2016, and March 17, 2017, respectively.
Following these, on January 22, 2018, a one-man committee- Prof. SN Singh- was constituted by the executive council of CUH to investigate the eligibility of Manoj Kumar for the post of assistant professor. Subsequently, Singh submitted his report in September last year.
Kumar, however, had not been informed about the charges framed against him before receiving the termination letter. As the inquiry processes had started, the assistant professor himself filed an RTI to get a copy of the note sheets to know the cause of inquiry as he had not been provided any details.
Kumar Targeted Despite Clarification
Highlighting the arbitrary functioning of the University, Dr. Manoj Kumar demanded that the then Deputy Registrar, Sunil Sharma, must be asked to explain as to why only his PhD. certificate was sent thrice, and why others similarly placed (holders of PhD as per UGC Regulation 2009, 2013 & 2016) regular faculty members were not subjected to the ordeal that he has underwent.
It is interesting to note that even though on February 9, 2018, the Dean of Academic Affairs, Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, had issued a certificate to Kumar, clarifying that he fulfilled all conditions as per the UGC (Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education) Regulations, 2010, the inquiry committee appointed by the CUH found that the assistant professor is not eligible for the post.
“This exempts the candidate (Kumar) from the requirement of the minimum eligibility condition of NET/SLET/SET for recruitment and appointment of assistant professor or equivalent positions in universities/colleges/institutions,” states the certificate issued on February 9.
The termination order, on the other hand, is being substantiated on the order of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana dated 24.01.2019 in CWP No-16894 of 2016, in the matter of Rajesh Kumar vs Central University of Haryana & others. The teachers’ association disowned the claims of the university administration saying that the “court just disposed off the referred case and nowhere, ordered his termination”.
“Though it is clear that the termination won’t persist on legal grounds, the university administration clearly wants to establish that this would be the after effect if anyone dares to question the administration. They simply want to oppress the voices against them,” Meena added.
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