Consider this: you find a lucrative vacancy in your line of work and want to apply. How would you feel if you also get to be on the appointment panel? Something similar is set to happen in Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The Union government last week nominated four members to the university's executive council (EC). But one of them, Mazhar Ashraf, also joined the varsity this month and now he is in a position to ratify his own appointment.
The JNU EC comprise:
– the vice-Chancellor
– the Registrar
– all deans of major schools
– a few heads of special centres (by rotation)
– heads of affiliate institutions
- Four eternal members nominated by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development
Last Saturday, President Ramnath Kovind approved the ministry's nominations:
– Manroop Singh Meena, Principal, Government Girls College, Dholpur, Rajasthan
– Naresh Padha, Professor at the Department of Physics and Electronics at the University of Jammu
– Sanjeev Kumar Sharma of Meerut University, who is the general secretary and treasurer of the Indian Political Science Association
– Mazhar Asif, who previously teaching at the Department of Persian, Gauhati University, Assam
This last choice has been met with disapproval from a section of the JNU faculty. Asif joined JNU as a professor on 1 November. Like others, he will be on probation for a year before the EC decides whether to make his appointment permanent or not. The council will also have to ratify his appointment.
So now that Asif is a part of the EC, he first gets to ratify his own appointment as professor in the JNU EC meeting scheduled for 23 November. Also, since the term of an EC member is of two years, he will also ratify his confirmation as a permanent faculty member next year.
JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) President Ayesha Kidwai told Catch –
“The JNUTA is shocked that a faculty member of JNU has been nominated as an external member by the MHRD. The fact that the colleague was first appointed in JNU as a professor and then in the EC, and therefore will be a member of the executive council for the ratification of his own appointment and then will participate in his confirmation after his probation as professor is complete, creates an alarming conflict of interest and violation of all established procedure and statutes in any university, let alone JNU.”
Ravi Srivastava, senior professor of social sciences at JNU, called the move a clear violation.
“The nominations for external members of the JNU EC must be external and not from within JNU. That’s what external means. Apart from that, the nominees must be eminent people within the academic fraternity. This colleague has just been appointed to the university as a professor in the School of Languages. This is a clear statutory violation because you must not nominate a sitting faculty member of the university. Also, he is a junior faculty member so he wouldn’t be on the EC as an internal member either. So he isn’t suited to be a member of the EC of a prestigious university like JNU. This is a very questionable move,” he said.
However, the JNU administration does not seem to have a problem with the appointment of Mazhar Asif.
“A letter to appoint the visitor nominees was forwarded last week by the HRD ministry. Their tenure begins from the date of receipt of the letter. We must comply with the visitor and the HRD ministry’s decision,” a statement from Registrar Pramod Kumar’s office said.