JNUTA Charge Sheet Against the VC

Memorandum

1. In exercise of the powers vested in it vide Clause IV.2 (c) of the JNUTA Constitution and keeping in mind the Objects of the Association set out in Clause III of the same, the JNUTA proposes to hold a public inquiry against Professor M. Jagadesh Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. The substance of the imputations of misconduct or misbehaviour in respect of which the inquiry is to be held is set out in the enclosed statement of the articles of charges

2. Professor M. Jagadesh Kumar is given the opportunity to submit, by the end of working hours on Friday, 20. 10. 2017, a written statement in his defence and state whether he desires to be heard in person or through his representative.

3. He is informed that an inquiry will be held only in respect of those articles of charge as are not admitted. He should, therefore, specifically deny or admit each charge.

4. Professor Jagadesh Kumar is further informed that if he does not submit his written statement of defence on or before the date specified in para 2 above, or does not appear himself or through his representative before the inquiring authority, the inquiry may be held against him ex parte. However, the JNUTA will try its best to uphold the principles of natural justice and in case he chooses not to represent his case, will place before the inquiring authority Professor Kumar’s views on each of the charges to the extent that they can be inferred from official documents and statements. (Annexure – I). Detailed statements of the imputations of misconduct and misbehaviour in support of each article of charge which will be placed before the inquiring authority will also be conveyed to Professor Kumar. All supporting documents which are otherwise not available to him would also be provided.

5. This memorandum is issued with the approval of the Competent Authority, namely the JUUTA General Body.

6. The receipt of this memorandum kindly be acknowledged.

(Ayesh Kidwai) (Pradeep Shinde)
President, JNUTA Secretary, JNUTA

Copy to:
Professor M. Jagadesh Kumar,
Vice-Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Articles of Charge

Professor M. Jagadesh Kumar is charged with the offence of initiating and furthering processed leading to the destruction of institutional rules and norms, conventions, ethos and culture of functioning that have been the hallmark of Jawaharlal Nehru University, of which he is currently Vice-Chancellor. Professor Kumar has vitiated the the essential foundations that have nurtured Jawaharlal Nehru University as one the country’s premier universities and enabled it to achieve the purposes for which it was created.

Statute 4 of the Jawaharlal Nehru University lays down the powers and duties of the Vice-Chancellor of the University. Professor Kumar’s actions (and inactions) detailed below represent an abuse of the powers vested in him. Instead of being used to carry out the duties his office entrusted with, they have been placed in the service of, and used to mask, what amounts to gross dereliction of duties. As such he has repeatedly violated the first two clauses of Statute 4:

(1) The Vice-Chancellor shall have general responsibility for maintaining and promoting the efficiency and good order of the University.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Vice-Chancellor to see that the provisions of the Act, these Statutes, the Ordinances and the Regulations are duly observed and the decisions taken by the authorities of the University are implemented.

Soon after he assumed office, the University was subjected to a vicious vilification campaign, which Professor Kumar and his Administration not only failed to defend the University from, but activelyaided. At the time, the JNUTA called out every such act of complicity, even going so far as to adopt a motion expressing no-confidence in the then officiating Registrar. The subsequent record of the Vice-Chancellor and the University Administration under his leadership (which forms the basis for the specific charges listed here) however, indicates that Professor Kumar’s lapses after the 9 February 2016 events were not the result of his inexperience as an administrator or newness to JNU. The offences listed in this statement of Articles of Charges are individually and collectively of so serious a nature that they only point towards the grim truth that Professor Kumar is on a singular mission to destroy Jawaharlal Nehru University. Insofar as JNU is an institution created through an Act of the Indian Parliament and bestowed with a public responsibility for fulfilling which it receives substantial funds from the public exchequer, Professor Kumar would also be guilty of betraying the public interest.

Detailed Statement of Specific Charges

Article 1: Repeated Violation of Statutory Provisions and Obligations

In several cases, Professor Kumar has acted in a manner which constitute violations of statutory provisions.

The JNU Act requires JNU’s Admission Policy to be framed by its Academic Council. Even the UGC 2016 Regulations vests this power in the statutory bodies of the University. Academic Ordinances too have to be created by the Executive Council on the recommendation of the Academic Council. Panels of Experts for Selection Committees similarly have to be approved by the Academic Council and then by the Executive Council, which is something that flows from UGC Regulations. Schools of Studies have to be created through Ordinances. However, Professor Kumar, in his capacity as Chairman of the Academic and Executive Councils, has wilfully subverted the process of decision-making through statutory bodies in each of these matters:

1. Decisions, such as admission policy and intake capacity have been implemented in 2017-18 and are being implemented for 2018-19 without deliberation in the Academic Council.

2. Professor Kumar has illegally appropriated for himself the right to add names to the panels of experts for selection committees even though no such discretionary power was granted to him by the Academic Council. He has also refused to share with members of the Executive Council, even while asking them to ratify his decisions, details on how this discretionary power has been used and the minutes of the relevant selection committees. Subsequently, the Vice-Chancellor has pushed through an illegal decision in the Executive Council, without any deliberation on this in the Academic Council or in the University at large, whereby the Academic Council will be bypassed in the matter of finalization of panels of experts and the Vice-Chancellor’s discretionary power to add names shall stand written into the regulations of the University.

3. In three successive Academic Council meetings, Professor Kumar did not allow members to discuss agenda items and then manipulated the minutes to manufacture ‘decisions’ of the Academic Council. Without the AC members being even given an opportunity to see the draft minutes, let alone confirming them, these were placed before the Executive Council as ‘recommendations’ of the AC.

4. The above illegal process has been the way in which the M.Phil and Ph.D ordinances of the University have been amended but with an additional illegality – namely, that even the notified ordinances are different from what has been recorded in the ‘minutes’ of the Academic and Executive Councils, apart from being incomplete. Further, what are effectively additional changes in the ordinances are being routinely announced as rules that have to be implemented without any Academic Council deliberation.

5. The Vice Chancellor has also violated the Regulation (M 1) which stipulates that the Academic Council should meet at least twice in every semester. Only one meeting was held in Winter 2016-17, and that too during the vacation, and none has been held so far in Monsoon 2017-18.

6. JNU’s Academic and Executive Council have never discussed or decided upon any proposal to create Schools of Engineering and Management in the University. Yet the Vice-Chancellor has gone ahead to seek, on his own, permission and funding for creation of such Schools which are only to be ‘reported’ to the University’s Statutory Bodies.

From beginning to end, the Executive Council decision to replace GSCASH by the ICC has also resulted from Professor Kumar’s wilful and deliberate ignoring of the procedure for changes in GSCASH rules and procedures laid down within those rules by an Executive Council decision.

Article 2: Undermining the Integrity of the Faculty Selection Process

By insisting first that he must have discretionary power to add experts to the panels approved by the Academic Council, a power that neither the UGC Regulations on Selection Committees or the University Statutes based on those regulations gave to the Vice Chancellor, and then making picking experts from these added names the norm rather than the exception in Selection Committees constituted for a series of faculty appointments, he has made a mockery of the process of approval of the panels of experts. As such he has made faculty appointments in a public institution in effect his private affair and reinforced that by illegally writing it into the regulations.

Article 3: Damaging the Interests of Students aspiring for research, wasting public money and violating CEI Act and Reservation Policy

By misusing the UGC 2016 Regulations, the Vice-Chancellor became the driving force behind the massive cut in the intake of JNU’s research programmes in the academic year 2017-18 – from the 1261 approved by the Academic Council to just 194 – which:

a) Blocked the admissions of over 1000 aspirants who could have joined JNU’s research programmes;

b) Resulted in a colossal wastage of the faculty and other research infrastructure in JNU that is maintained with public money;

c) Amounted to a gross violation of the CEI Act 2006, Clause 5 of which mandated a 54 per cent increase in the seats over the 2006 levels.

d) Undermined the reservation policy by reducing the overall percentage of reserved seats to well below the stipulated percentages and by doing away with relaxations in minimum eligibility conditions for candidates from reserved categories.

e) Undermined JNU’s inclusive admission policy by doing away with the deprivation points system in admissions to research programmes.

f) Made the admission process subject to greater arbitrariness and subjectivity by reducing the written entrance examination to merely a qualifying examination and making the selection completely dependent on the interview.

The offences are being repeated in the 2018-19 admissions process where too the announced intake is far below the levels prevailing till 2016-17.

Article 4: Harassing Teachers and Denying them their Legitimate Dues.

The Vice-Chancellor has used every available opportunity to harass teachers and deny them their rights and respect, some examples of which are given here.

The promotions of several teachers have been held up for nearly two years, and a cloud of uncertainty unnecessarily created over them, simply because instead of implementing the already existing decisions of the Executive Council based on the relevant UGC Regulations on counting of past service as had already been done in several cases the Vice-Chancellor decided to examine afresh the cases of those whose only fault was that their interviews had been delayed for no fault of theirs. In one case, an audit objection has been misused to harass someone who has been an elected member of the Executive Council and raised her voice against irregularities.

The Vice Chancellor has also been singularly responsible for denial of promotions and severe loss to faculty by manipulating the decisions of Selection Committees and the Executive Council in flagrant violation of the relevant UGC regulations and the JNU Statutes derived from them. These denials have no academic basis and have the solitary objective of targeting those whom the Vice Chancellor considers as not in his camp.

The Vice-Chancellor has also failed to resolve the issue of salaries to be paid to Re-Employed Teachers and JNU continues to enact what can only be called a travesty of rule implementation – it follows a salary fixation method for such teachers that is as irrational as it can get and is at variance with the practice in other Central Universities derived from UGC Rules and those notified by the DOPT.

In matters of appointment of Chairpersons and Deans, and appointment/extension of wardenship, the Vice-Chancellor has been insisting on interviews and ‘vision statements’. The only purpose behind these have been to subject teachers to humiliation and adding only to the arbitrariness, favouritism and discriminatory in the decision-making process.

In a matter of simple administrative error for which the faculty was not responsible, and which was corrected in time, the Vice-Chancellor became instrumental in unleashing a denigration of the faculty of the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, first in the Executive Council and then in the Media. Further, misinformation was used in the process and even when this came to light no public apology was issued to undo the damage done to the faculty’s reputation.

On the matter of confirmation of the appointment of teachers, the Vice Chancellor has in many cases turned what should normally be a routine matter into an instrument of harassing teachers. In the process statutory provisions on confirmation have been given the go-by. In one case, a faculty member was even illegally relieved from his position, a decision that the Vice-Chancellor has been forced to take back – but the Vice-Chancellor even after that has been shameless in refusing to acknowledge his mistake.

Article 5: Assaulting Democracy and Promoting Authoritarianism

All the violations listed under Articles 1 and 3 have served the objective of the Vice-Chancellor centralizing decision-making in his own hands and forcing his decisions on the University in flagrant disregard of all democratic norms and procedures.

The Vice Chancellor has abused his position as Chairperson of the Executive Council to turn it into an impromptu kangaroo court for ‘officially’ taking an illegal disciplinary action against the Chairperson of a Centre. He has similarly initiated illegal inquiries against teachers through the Executive Council whose details he has not even bothered to notify.

The Vice-Chancellor has repeatedly used intimidatory tactics against elected representatives in the statutory bodies and the JNUTA and sought to restrict their right to be heard. Exactly the same practice has been followed with students and the JNUSU, whose peaceful protests and dissent have invited such a flurry of disciplinary proceedings and penalties as perhaps JNU has never seen in the past. However, while dissenting and protesting students are routinely penalized, there are favoured ones whom the Administration under his leadership treats with kid’s gloves. Thus, despite several promises no action has been taken till date against those responsible for abusing and threatening teachers and their families in Paschimabad in February 2016. Similarly, those who were guilty of assaulting Najeeb Ahmed before his disappearance were let off very lightly.

The Vice-Chancellor has now unleashed another assault on democratic rights of protest by introducing a blanket ban on protests within a 100 metre radius of the Administrative Block. This has been coupled with attempts to increase the surveillance of students and teachers activities.

Time and again, the Vice-Chancellor has also sought to breach the principle of rotation by seniority – something that even the Executive Council has questioned – and increase his discretionary power in the matter of appointments of Chairpersons and Deans, which can only serve the end of increasing his control over statutory bodies and the faculty selection process.

Several arbitrary rules and procedures applicable to faculty and students have been introduced without any discussion and deliberation within University and coercive and intimidatory tactics, which have even entered the language of official communications, have been routinely resorted to for getting these implemented.

Article 6: Undermining JNU’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy

The Vice-Chancellor has initiated and led the process of the attempted illegal dismantling of the GSCASH, JNU’s well-tested and universally acclaimed institutional mechanism for dealing with the problem of sexual harassment. After attempts in the past failed, he has sought to misuse a UGC Regulation to replace GSCASH it with an Internal Complaints Committee over which he would be able to exercise direct control and use according to his whims and fancies. As such, he has contributed to making the JNU campus more unsafe for the potential targets of sexual harassment and made it less likely that complainants will be able to secure justice.

Article 7: Displacing a Callous Attitude towards Najeeb Ahmed and Failing to Protect a Students Interests

The Vice-Chancellor and his Administrations’ callousness and lack of even handedness have been responsible, at least in part, for the circumstances behind a student of the University, Najeeb Ahmed, going missing in October 2016 and the failure to trace his whereabouts or fate till date. The Vice-Chancellor has further lowered the prestige of the University by the way he has treated the family of Najeeb Ahmed.

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