The Executive Council of Jamia Millia Islamia has approved the recommendations of a probe panel to sack as many as nine faculty members from the university's prestigious mass communication school, which boasts of actor Shah Rukh Khan among its alumni.
Earlier this year, a probe panel, headed by a retired judge, had observed that these nine teachers at the AJK Mass Communication and Research Centre were appointed in violation of the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations.
In its latest meeting, the Executive Council decided to accept the probe panel’s recommendation following a report of the selection committee that had picked these nine faculty members, top university sources told HT.
The Executive Council's approval will now be sent to the Human Resource Development Ministry, which in turn will ask the Visitor (President of India) of the university to annul the appointments.
For the past several months, these teachers have been petitioning the President following the HRD Ministry's move to initiate the procedure for their sacking based on the probe panel’s report. The President had forwarded their petitions to the ministry, which in turn, asked the university to obtain the approval of the Executive Council.
“The Executive Council's approval is the final nail in the case,” a source said.
However, the institution will lose almost half its faculty members if the teachers at the MCRC are sacked. The MCRC, which is already reeling under staff shortage, has a total faculty strength of 19.
The case has also raised concerns over whether teaching ability in fine arts subjects can be judged by the standard academic qualifications like PhDs as prescribed by the UGC in its regulations.
Several artistes, in the past, have pointed out that as per the UGC regulations, actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi do not qualify to teach the students despite having achieved so much in their field of expertise.
Unlike the West, India also does not have many institutions pursuing research in these subjects. Nor do they offer PhD programmes in these fields.
“Effectively, what we end up doing is ensuring that only those who have obtained their PhDs from foreign universities can teach at our institutions at present. This is not a good situation,” a former Dean of the Film and Television Institute of India said.