The West Bengal Council of Higher Education is set to wage war against universities in the state that are trying to hide their malpractices behind the veil of autonomy. The Council’s top priority is to look into the complaints against errant faculty members.
The first step the council took was to haul up Jadavpur University (JU) for unlawfully denying Babur Ali Shah a faculty position in the geology department, despite being more qualified than the final recruit. “Shah appeared for the interview twice – in 2008 and 2009. But both times he was rejected. Instead, a less qualified candidate was accepted. This should not happen. We have written to the university, asking them to give Shah an appointment immediately,” said Sugata Marjit, chairman of the council.
Shah has lodged a complaint with the minority commission, which, in turn, pointed out that Shah should have got the job. “When I was vice-chancellor of JU I, too, had initiated a probe and found that Shah was unlawfully denied the job. There are several such appointment irregularities at JU and we urge the present vice-chancellor to take these matters very seriously, and to address the situation promptly and ensure that the aggrieved gets justice,” said Abhijit Chakrabarty, vice-chairman of the council.
Pointing out that the council was already flooded by a steady stream of such complaints, Marjit said, “The council cannot come to their rescue every single time. We have our own commitments, but in places where we do not have any legal complications we will definitely take steps.”
On how the council direct universities would address such malpractices despite the autonomous status of the universities, Marjit said, “We know that the university has autonomy, but they cannot use it as a shield to deny natural justice to people. If that is happening then we will not allow it. We know that we cannot direct the universities, apart from giving suggestions, but we can always make them discuss the matter at its executive council or syndicate, and bring these incidents to public light.”
“To do all these things we need the support of all the stake holders. In case of Shah, the minority commission report has helped us fight for the injustice handed down to him,” he told HT.