A delegation of nine teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers
Association –Prof. Gopal Guru, Prof. Bishnupriya Dutt, Prof. Jayati Ghosh,
Prof. Ram Ramaswamy, Prof. D.K. Lobiyal, Prof. Bikram Aditya Choudhary,
Prof. Aditya Mukherjee, Prof. Udaya Kumar and Prof. Ayesha Kidwai — met
with the Hon’ble President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, on 9th February 2017 to
appeal to him to intervene in his capacity as the Visitor of the University. We
are very happy to report that the Hon’ble President gave us a very patient
hearing and ample time for us to make our case. Besides raising the points in
the letters we had sent him on 31 January, we also apprised him of the latest
developments on the campus, where the JNU VC and his ‘team’ are unilaterally and
illegally attempting to slash admissions to the M.Phil./PhD programmes of the
university.The delegation pointed out to the Visitor that the hasty and unthinking
imposition of all the changes in JNU’s admission policy are in violation of
Constitutional provisions, and of specially two Acts of Parliament:
A. The Jawaharlal Nehru University Act of 1966
a. JNU’s admission policy flows from The First Schedule of the JNU Act,
specifically the objective (ii) take special measures to facilitate students and
teachers from all over India to join the University and participate in its academic
programmes. The deprivation points are these “special measures”.
b. The JNU Act (Clause 16 (iii),(iv), (v), (viii), (xiii), (xiv), and (xvii)) also
makes the Academic Council the sole statutory body with the power and
the responsibility, of conducting admission to the University (so the
Standing Committee of Admissions must report to it, NOT the VC or the
Evaluation Branch), including the approval of intake of
Centres/Schools/Special Centres). These intakes have already been approved. Further, the Executive Council cannot be asked to approve any changes in any aspect of the admission policy instead of the Academic Council (as the University administration is illegally trying to get done).
c. Clause 27.2 (A) to (F) of the Second Schedule of the JNU Act lays down that
in constituting Selection Committees, the Vice-Chancellor may only
nominate three experts in the concerned subject out of the panel of names
approved by the relevant statutory body of the University. As a consequence, the power that the VC has arrogated to himself through fabricated minutes of the 141st and 14nd AC meetings the power to stack with
Selection Committees, in order to stack their quorum, is illegal.
B. The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation In Admission) Act, 2006
Clause 5 of this Act requires that the 54% increase in the intake of
Centres/Schools/ Special Centres cannot be reduced, as they were frozen
since the Act came into force. The JNU administration’s reduction of seats
shall therefore be in violation of this Act, especially when the UGC
Notification 2016 itself specifies that Admission Policy needs to follow the
reservation policy of the country.
Members of the delegation also explained to the Visitor that it wasn’t that JNU
faculty were not ready to discuss the UGC 2016 Regulations, but the fact that we
were being denied a reasonable opportunity to undertake a meaningful discussion
of these Regulations. Instead of facilitating such a discussion, the JNU
administration wished to make us choose between a set of rules prepared by the
UGC versus the Constitution of India and the Acts enacted as part of it. As citizens
of India, we could not stand by and accept this unlawful state of affairs in the
University continue without opposition.
The delegation also elaborated before the Visitor all the other issues raised in our
letters – from the issue of the 100% weightage given to viva voce manner to the
intimidation and surveillance of faculty and students, and the restrictions on
freedoms of movement, assembly, speech, and expression. We requested the
Hon’ble President to use the powers invested in his capacity as the Visitor to
act with utmost urgency to ensure the following:
(1) The power illegally arrogated by the VC to enable him to add names to the
panel of experts is removed/
(2) Status quo is maintained vis-à-vis admissions to JNU for 2017-2018 must be by
the admission policy employed in 2016-17.
(3) There is no reduction in intake capacity in this year or any subsequent year.
(4) Ample opportunity be provided for interpretation and discussion of the UGC
regulations 2016 in the statutory bodies of JNU (Schools and Academic Council
(5) The 142nd Academic Council must be reconvened to reconsider all Agenda
items pertaining to the admission policy of the university.
The delegation has felt encouraged by the attentiveness with which the points
we made were listened to by the Visitor. JNUTA urges all other sections of the
university to join it in asking the Visitor’s urgent intervention.
Ayesha Kidwai Pradeep Shinde