New Delhi: As many as 48 teachers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have been issued a charge-sheet by the university authorities earlier this month for participating in a protest last year, thereby “violating” disciplinary rules. A clarification has been sought from them in person and in writing. However, the teachers are demanding that the university authorities withdraw the charge-sheet.
A cross-section of JNU teachers has been refusing to follow rules meant to ensure discipline enforced by the Vice Chancellor and has revolted against him for initiating measures to streamline the education system in the university. This cross-section has been supported by the students’ union, which has been at loggerheads with the university administration for long.
The JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) in a statement expressed outrage and condemnation at the framing of charge-sheet against teachers, adding that the rules enforced by the V-C are not applicable to the teaching community and are antithetical to “very idea of the university”.
A JNUTA statement reads: “JNU is an autonomous body created through an Act of Parliament and teachers are not government servants as defined under Central Civil Service CCS (conduct) rules, 1964. Conduct rules framed by the Central government for those who have to discharge specific functions of government servants cannot be applied by a university on its teachers.”
JNUTA has revolted against the JNU administration for various steps taken by it, which they regard as “anti-student and anti-university”.
The JNUTA is also opposing the biometric attendance system, saying that it is a “gross violation of the right to privacy”. The JNUTA is being backed by the students’ union.
However, there are many teachers who feel that the rules should be followed in order to streamline the education system. Pravesh Kumar Chaudhary, a faculty member, told The Sunday Guardian, “Rules are rules. Nobody is above the rules. According to the university ordinance and Delhi High Court order, demonstration can only take place outside 100 meters of administrative building. It would not have been a problem if they had followed this rule. Since they had broken it, they are now facing the consequences.”
He added, “The University allows political agitation; you have the political right of freedom of expression, but that doesn’t mean you can disrupt the administrative process. If they do so, that’s an offense.” Chaudhary also asked: “Was last year’s demonstration on teachers’ issues or just an attempt to satisfy their political mentors?”
When The Sunday Guardian tried to contact the Registrar, who is the administrative head of the university, he refused to comment on the issue and was told to talk to the public relations officer (PRO) of the university. The PRO also refused to comment on the charge-sheet, saying she was not communicated about the matter from the university authorities.
JNU Students’ Union president N. Sai Balaji said that the charge-sheet is nothing, but another attempt to destroy the university’s social inclusive character.