Notwithstanding the objections raised by the Punjab government over recruitment and promotions of the employees, Punjabi University continued to give salaries to 91 faculty members without getting it cleared from the audit department for past several years.
The release of out of the audit salaries to the 91 faculty members has put an extra financial burden on the already cash-strapped university.
The university authorities adopted the go-it-alone attitude following the audit department's refusal to clear the salaries of the faculty members in the backdrop of the alleged irregularities in recruitments and promotions of teachers by the authorities.
According to information, of 91 faculty members, 71 assistant professors and 20 associate professors and professors have been paid salaries surpassing the authority of the deputy controller of the local finance department, Punjab government.
Sources with the audit department said apart from gross violations in recruitment of 55 assistant professors and giving benefits of previous regular services to around 36 faculty members had made audit department to decline to clear their salaries. “Around Rs. 5.5 crore has been withdrawn every year to give unaudited salaries to the 91 faculty members,” source said.
Notwithstanding the norms of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to include previous regular services of the teachers under the Career Advancement Scheme, the Punjab government in 2006 amended its own previous services norms, directing universities not to include old services of employees at other institutions after promotion at new institutions.
“Despite the Punjab government's amendment categorically mentioning every norm, the university kept on counting previous services for promoting teachers and got clearance from the syndicate. Assuming the university's move arbitrary, the local audit department did not clear cases after 2006,” the sources said.
Besides this, sources said, in 2011, overriding the UGC norms, the university appointed 55 assistant professors, presently working at different departments on the campus; however, the Punjab government has not so far cleared their recruitment.
When required, the university authorities changed the UGC guidelines to relax eligibility criteria for the recruitment of assistant professors.
As per the UGC norms, amended in 2009, besides UGC/NET or JRF passed candidates, only Phd degree holders, who have done their post-doctorate degree as per new guidelines, are eligible for teaching posts in the university.
However, the university recruited assistant professors following the old norms, which was in contradiction with the UGC's fresh amendment, said sources.
“Though syndicate cleared the recruitment made by the university, but the government refused to give its nod and ordered the audit to sanction their salaries due to blatant violation. Following this, the university has been paying them out of the audit salaries since their recruitment,” source said.
Meanwhile, when contacted, vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh refused to comment on the issue.
Deputy controller of local audit Ashok Kumar Puri said sensing violations and out of order recruitments and promotions, they had already reported the matter to Punjab government.
“The report in this regard is sent from time to time to the state authorities,” he said.