The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) condemned the decision of the Executive Council for the removal of Professor Nivedita Menon from Chairpersonship of the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory (CCPT), School. In a press release, the JNUTA said that her removal is an act of intimidation and insult by the Vice-Chancellor of JNU solely because Menon asserted the necessity of the correct procedure, impartiality, and absolute integrity in selection committees. It said that, it is her refusal (in writing and without offending any rules of decorum) to bow down to the dictates of a quorum stacked by the Vice-Chancellor that earned her this penalty, which has been imposed upon her without even an intimation to her, let alone giving her a chance to defend herself. The decision to remove her chairpersonship was taken at the Executive Council meeting held on Monday.
Menon said that her formal act of objecting to improprieties in the conduct of University’s Selection Committee was falsely termed as ‘insulting behaviour’ and the decision to remove her from Chairpersonship was taken.
Speaking to Newsclick, she said “I objected to some glaring improprieties in the conduct of the Selection Committee, and so did another external member. I did this formally and placed it on record. This is what is being termed as ‘insulting behaviour’.”
The JNUTA further said, “it understands the overall effect being aimed for is a chilling one, whereby all Chairpersons are hereby warned that they shall meet the same fate that Prof. Nivedita Menon has been meted out of they object to the repeated violations of all norms in Selection Committees in particular.” Noting that some JNU teachers have earlier taken the legal route in a bid to curb the Vice-Chancellor’s usurpation of powers in the matter of Selection Committees, the committee affirmed that it will not bow down to such dictates.
“Above all, it must be realised that it is the right to question, the right to scrutinise and the right to dissent which enables an informed citizenry to scrutinise the actions of government. Those who are governed are entitled to question those who govern, about the discharge of their constitutional duties,” JNUTA recognized in their press statement and said that Menon has upheld exactly what the recent Supreme Court judgment on the right to privacy has stated to be one of the duties of an informed citizenry.
“While the JNU Vice Chancellor and the Executive Council may have forgotten that they are directly bound to uphold the Constitution by virtue of their very designations, JNUTA salutes Prof. Nivedita Menon for her courage and determination in defending the JNU Act and Statutes,” JNUTA affirmed.
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