The usage of fake certificates by people seeking to obtain jobs or pursue higher education has plagued the University of Mumbai for years. An RTI revealed that in the past four years, MU has filed close to 1,200 FIRs against students or ex-students who produced fake certificates.
Most of these cases were brought to the university’s attention by higher education institutes or companies, which suspected the documents produced by the candidates.
“I filed the RTI after the fake degrees of our state education minister and former union HRD minister made news. My aim was to find out what the university does with such complaints. Are the culprits punished or simply let off with warnings? It was good to see that at least FIRs were registered,” said Vihar Durve, a city-based RTI activist. While the university finally shared the names and details of culprits who were caught with fake certificates, Durve said he had to appeal to a higher authority twice to finally get a reply.
MU officials said cases of bogus certificates were forwarded to the police by the respective departments. “Using fake certificates to seek jobs or higher education is wrong. By using the name of a reputed university on these certificates, the candidates are defaming the university. We make sure that the culprits are brought to justice,” said M A Khan, registrar, MU.
According to the information revealed through the RTI, MU made 1,186 complaints in the academic year 2012-2013. However, Durve stated that little has been done to curb the malpractice.
“The number of complaints received by MU hasn’t decreased over the years, which means that the university needs stricter rules to put an end to this practice. Better software will help the university avoid such cases in the future,” he said.
‘V-C made 5 foreign trips in 10 months’
Another RTI filed by activist Anil Galgali revealed that MU vice-chancellor (V-C) Sanjay Deshmukh has been on five official international trips in the past 10 months, making him one of the top foreign-touring VCs in Maharashtra. The RTI shows that W N Gade, VC of Pune’s Mahatma Phule University, has gone on five trips in the last ten months too. While Deshmukh travelled to Israel, Moscow, China, Germany and South Korea, Gade went to USA, China, Germany-Sweden, Canada-USA and London. Further inquiries have revealed that the Governor of Maharashtra has a total of 27 official foreign tours of VCs in the last four years.
“These official trips have not been funded by the university. We have revealed the purpose of all these visits to the public through fortnightly press conferences,” Deshmukh told HT, speaking about him nickname as the ‘globe trotter VC of the state’.