Inquiry committee set up after objections raised over four faculty appointments in JNU
An inquiry committee will review the recent appointments of faculty members of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) after several members of the university’s executive council (EC) -- the highest decision-making body -- objected to their candidatures, and alleged discrepancies in the recruitment process. .
A member of the EC, who wished not to be named, said irregularities were found in the appointment of two faculty members in the recently established special centre for national security, one in the centre for studies in north-eastern India and the other in the centre for media studies.
All these appointments were done through online interviews between June and August, at the time when the education institutions were physically closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
During a meeting on September 7, several executive council members objected to the appointment process.
“There were two appointments in the special school of national security, which only offers PhD courses, for the posts of assistant and associate professors, respectively. While one candidate finalised by the administration for associate professor did not have the required experience of eight years, the other one selected for assistant professor was just a postgraduate degree holder. How can an assistant professor without a PhD be hired for a centre set up exclusively for PhD programmers?” said the EC member quoted above.
In the third case, the EC members alleged that a candidate who was not even shortlisted by the selection committee was appointed directly for the post of associate professor in the centre for media studies.
“This particular person did not even have the required experience of eight years for the post of associate professor. In the fourth case, a candidate barred by the EC from applying in JNU in 2014 on charges of plagiarism was appointed to the post of associate professor in the special centre for studies in north-eastern India. The EC objected to all these recruitments since all of them violated existing recruitment norms,” the EC member said.
Sachidanand Sinha, an elected member of the EC, said several members objected to the recruitment. “Objections were raised at least over four recruitments. A committee appointed by the EC will review these recruitments.”
Minutes of the EC meeting held on September 7, seen by HT, confirmed that three of these four appointments will be reviewed by an inquiry committee.
Dean of School of International Studies Aswini Mohapatra, who is a part of the committee, said, “We have received minutes of the EC meeting on Wednesday. There have been complaints related to some recruitments but I am yet to look into this.”
University registrar Pramod Kumar denied any irregularities. “JNU does not hire anyone before getting their names approved by the EC. We follow a rigorous process for recruitment of faculty members. A committee was constituted by the EC in August to review another appointment. The report of that committee was presented before the EC on September 7. Now the same committee has been expanded and it will review some more recruitments. However, there is no irregularity as such,” he said.
JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) secretary Surajit Mazumdar said, “We have been raising objections over the recruitment processes in JNU for the last few years. We have been demanding proper guidelines for online recruitments happening amid the pandemic after many irregularities were reported. There should be some SoPs for this as well,” he said.