On 30 June 2017: The JNU Executive Council refused to ratify the JNU Vice Chancello’s illegal relieving of Prof. Rajeev Kumar. What did Prof. Jagadesh Kumar do? NOTHING.
On 8 August 2017, Prof. Rajeev Kumar was informed that the Hon’ble President of India, in his capacity as the Visitor, IIT Kharagpur, in exercise of powers conferred under Section 15(12)(a) of the Statutes of IIT Kharagpur, set aside the penalty of compulsory retirement imposed on him by IIT Kharagpur.
Prof. Rajeev Kumar informed Prof. Jagadesh Kumar of this on 9 August 2017, and requested him to uphold the EC mandate and reinstate him with retrospect. What did Prof. Jagadesh Kumar do? NOTHING.
On 14 August 2017, IIT Kharagpur vide Memorandum No. HT/3-3/1656 accepted Prof. Rajeev Kumar’s Technical Resignation with effect from June 11, 2017 (AN).
Prof. Rajeev Kumar informed Prof. Jagadesh Kumar of this on 15 August 2017, and requested him to uphold the EC mandate and reinstate him with retrospect. What did Prof. Jagadesh Kumar do? NOTHING.
On 16 August 2017, the Hon. Delhi High Court hearing Prof. Rajeev Kumar observed that Prof. Rajeev Kumar must be reinstated at JNU with retrospect. What did Prof. Jagadesh Kumar do? NOTHING.
On 21 August 2017, the written order of the DHC has been released. The order unambiguously rules: “There is no requirement for JNU to now release the petitioner on account of the request made by the IIT. It is further directed that the respondent will not withhold the dues of the petitioner and also send his service record to JNU. To put quietus to the controversy, it is also directed that no proceedings are required to be taken against the petitioner.”
Prof. Jagadesh Kumar can no longer do nothing, as to do this would be outright contempt of court. Although the JNU administration has skated perilously close contempt in the past — the JNU website still hosts the stayed judgment on the Shubhanshu Singh case, and completely ignores the existence of the DHC Division Bench stay order — the JNUTA imagines that even this vindictive administration would understand that there can be no further harassment of Prof. Rajeev Kumar.
As is now well known, Prof. Rajeev Kumar initiated a writ petition against the Joint Admission Board (JAB) the in Calcutta High Court in 2007, which led to a cleanup of the IIT admissions process. In its judgment, the Supreme Court held that “IITs must thank him for bringing such transparency and accuracy”, calling him an “unsung hero who helped in improving the system”, and one whose “attempts to bring in transparency in the procedure by various RTI applications, and the debate generated by the several views of experts during the course of the writ proceedings, have helped in making the merit ranking process more transparent and accurate.”
Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar was Vice-Chairman, JEE IIT Delhi and a member of the JAB between 2006 – 08. During JNU’s current Vice-Chancellor’s tenure as a JAB Member, the JEE cutoffs nosedived to (1,4,3) and (5,0,3) from (37,48,55) out of 180s (SC Judgement: Pg. ), “making a mockery of their purpose of ensuring that selected candidates displayed a certain minimum level of knowledge in every subject … puts a question mark on a much-touted system that has been in existence for over four decades (TOI: Front Page News Mar.- Apr. 2008).
Was the extraordinarily unlawful mistreatment meted out to Prof. Rajeev Kumar the result of this old animus? It is impossible for JNUTA to determine this conclusively, but a case for a possible conflict of interest can certainly be made. If the JNU VC would like to dispel this uncomfortable question, Prof. Jagadesh Kumar should not only immediately reinstate Prof. Rajeev Kumar but also issue him a written apology as well.
Ayesha Kidwai Pradeep Shinde