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Ex-professor moves HC as Mumbai University fails to compensate him

mumbai Updated: Oct 24, 2016 23:55 IST
Musab Qazi
Mumbai University

A former professor at University of Mumbai (MU) has moved Bombay high court (HC), after the state allegedly refused to compensate him for his two years of service.

Jose George, who was to retire from MU’s department of civics and politics in 2014, had applied for a two-year extension in his tenure. However, with no clarity on the status of his application, he continued to work in the department for two more years, only to be eventually told that his application has been rejected.

In 2011-12, the government had raised the retirement age in government and private institutes and universities to 62 years from 58. However, teachers were required to undergo a performance review at 60 to get an extension in service. Earlier this year, the government fixed the retirement age for teachers at 60.

George had joined MU as a senior lecturer in 1987 and was promoted to head of the civics and politics department in 2006. An active member of Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union (BUCTU), he had been elected to various statutory bodies of MU, including management council and senate.

George, who was due to retire in May 2014, had applied for an extension in service in March 2014. A committee headed by then vice-chancellor Rajan Welukar graded his performance in the last five years of his tenure. The confidential report (CR) submitted by the committee found him lacking in performance in academic year 2013-14, making him ineligible for the extension.

MA Khan, registrar, MU, said the government took more than a year to process George’s application and finally denied him an extension earlier this year. While MU claims that George was informed, the professor maintains he didn’t receive any “formal communication”.

When George requested a review of his application, MU appointed another committee under Neeraj Hatekar, director of MU’s department of economics, to take another look at his CR. The committee, in February, decided to remove the poor grade from the report. Another application was submitted to the government based on the new CR. The application, however, was rejected in July, after a new government resolution fixed the retirement age at 60.

During this period, George continued to teach at MU. He said MU and the government deliberately delayed their response. “They never asked me to discontinue,” he said, adding that the poor confidential report was a result of his role in the teachers’ union.

He pointed out that five other professors, who had applied for extension along with him, received better reviews from MU.

Khan has denied these claims. “The CR is a review of the overall performance of a teacher’s contribution to the university undertaken by the vice-chancellor. The university has extended all the help to the professor,” he said.

The HC will hear the matter after the Diwali recess.