Though belatedly, the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) has finally moved to undo former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash C Kashyap's phony claim to the authorship of a seminal work on the framing of India's Constitution.
Acting on a report in the Hindustan Times, the IIPA instructed the Universal Law Publishing Company to change the jacket of the ‘study’ volume of B. Shiva Rao's original five-part work The Framing of India's Constitution.
“We have been asked to restore Rao's name on the cover and on the title page of the fifth volume of the book's second edition,” ULPC director Manish Arora said.
He added that the changes desired by the IIPA were in consonance with the time-honoured practice to give credit to original authors in updated reprints. “We do so even for books that are a hundred years old,” noted Arora.
Meanwhile, sources in the IIPA contested Kashyap’s claim that he executed the task assigned to him as per the Institute’s directions.
“Nobody asked him to knock off Rao's name. We got to see the revised, updated version only when it was ready for release,” a source insisted.
Ironically, Kashyap was assigned to work on the book's second edition by the IIPA's golden jubilee panel, led by Karnataka Governor T.N. Chaturvedi, who, as chairman of the Institute funded by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), is now inquiring into the lapse.
IIPA director P.L. Sanjeev Reddy has since put up a note to Chaturvedi detailing the circumstances that led to the authorship change described as “intellectual sacrilege” by a section of constitutional experts. But on one issue, there is still a communication gap between the Institute and the publisher. While IIPA sources maintain the ULPA has been asked to insert in the unsold copies former President Radhakrishnan’s original foreword and the letters Pandit Nehru wrote in 1963-64 in praise of the Shiva Rao-led project, Arora said he has no such instructions from the copyright holder.
For Kashyap, charity doesn’t obviously begin at home. In 1991, he litigated against the publication and sale of a revised edition of a reference book of immense value — Practice and Procedure of Parliament by Kaul and Shakdher. His grievance: denial of credit for revising and updating the work. But in 2004, he similarly slighted Shiva Rao, a Constituent Assembly member who isn’t alive to defend his rights.