The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) not to grant any further extension beyond the contract period to teachers employed for the 2014-15 academic session. The court has also directed the varsity to fill up vacant posts only after following the procedure as laid down the University Grants Commission (UGC).
A single bench of justice Deepak Sibal passed this judgment, on May 29, while disposing of a petition filed by Sarabjit Kaur who had challenged the selection of candidates for the post of assistant professor (on contract) in the computer science and engineering department at the main campus of GNDU, its regional campuses and affiliated colleges in July 2014. The petitioner had claimed that she had been overlooked for selection to 141 vacant posts, in spite of fulfilling all necessary qualification criteria.
While noting that the contract period of the selected teachers expired on May 29, the bench specifically directed the university that no extension was to be granted to any of the selected teachers. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the university.
Expressing shock over the selection procedure, justice Sibal noted that there was no record of the proceedings of the interview board.
"Eeven after careful scrutiny of the records presented by the university counsel, the basis of selection remained an unsolved mystery and it still is," the court observed, adding that the university had no record declaring the petitioner unsuitable for the job in question.
Justice Sibal in his judgement noted that a seat of higher learning while selecting teachers should follow a fair and transparent procedure, which has the backing of instructions or regulations of the applicable regulatory bodies.
"It was disturbing to find out that while making the appointments to the posts of assistant professors (may be on contract) there was no criteria made or followed and that there was no record of any proceedings recorded by the selection committee to judge the best candidates from the pool of eligible applicants," the judge observed.
The judge noted or a list of selected candidates was published or displayed and what was even more disturbing is that even the vice-Chancellor, as also the syndicate, failed in its supervisory duties by casually approving the impugned selections, which apparently did not even have the semblance of a valid selection.
"The impugned selection process is also in gross violation of the UGC Regulations," the judgement stated while noting that the selection procedure had been completely thrown to the winds and no transparent, objective and credible methodology of analysis of the merits and credentials of the applicants based on weights assigned to the performance of the candidate in different relevant dimensions and his/her performance on a scoring system proforma, was done.
The court also noted that the procedure for judging the ability of the candidates to assess the teaching and/or research aptitude through a seminar or lecture in a classroom was also not adopted. No academician representing SC/ST/OBC/minority/women/ differently-abled categories was a member of the selection committee, as required under UGC regulations.