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Navrajdeep Singh , Hindustan Times
Patiala , October 04, 2013
In a move which is likely to spark a fresh row, the authorities of Punjabi University are all set to hold interviews for the post of 'readers', which was abolished in 2008 by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Along with career advancement scheme interviews for the promotion of assistant professors to associate level in various departments, the university has planned to conduct interviews for the post of the readers on October 8.

As per the available information, on December 31, 2008, the UGC had abolished 'feeder cadre', entails teachers having nine years of teaching experience and a Phd degree would be eligible for the post of reader.

At the same time, the UGC abolished designations and promotion criteria involving lecturer's promotion to reader and then professor; instead it brought the present hierarchical system of assistant professor, associate professor and professor. The commission directed the educational institutions to immediately adopt the new set of rules. However, the UGC allowed the university to consider the cases of lecturers, readers' recruitment and promotion till December 31, 2008.

According to information, the university, however, formed a committee comprising high officials and extended the December 31, 2008 time limit first to June 6, 2010, and subsequently to March 12, 2011, with the nod from syndicate.

Sources with the university said two faculty members - Monika Ahuja and Bhupinder Singh Virk - filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court challenging seniority of one of the faculty members at the department of law under the 'feeder cadre' allegedly under the influence of senior officials.

Hearing the writ, the court on August 29 ordered that promotions, if any made, should be subject to the outcome of the writ petition, the minutes of departmental promotion committee would not be implemented and the result be kept in a sealed cover.

“The university has already issued interview letters to around eight aspirants of the reader's post even after the court orders,” sources said.

When contacted, Punjabi University vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh said that he was aware of the matter and had sought legal opinion.