The JNUTA is incensed at the decision of the Executive Council for the removal of Prof. Nivedita Menon from Chairpersonship of the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, School. As has been reported in the media today quoting a member of the JNU Executive Council (Prof. Menon has herself received nothing in writing), the purported reason for this ‘disciplinary action’ is her alleged ‘misbehaviour’ and ‘insults’ to male members of a Selection Committee meeting. The truth of the matter is of course exactly the opposite: her removal is itself an act of intimidation and insult by the Vice Chancellor of JNU solely because Prof. Menon asserted the necessity of the correct procedure, impartiality, and absolute integrity in selection committees. It is her refusal (in writing and without offending any rules of decorum) to bow down to the dictates of a quorum stacked by the Vice-Chancellor that has earned her this penalty, which has been imposed upon her without even an intimation to her, let alone giving her a chance to defend herself. This admission of so-called complaints without a proper procedure being employed is illustrative of the extent to which the principles of natural justice are being violated in JNU today.
The JNUTA understands that the overall effect being aimed for is a chilling one, whereby all Chairpersons are hereby warned that they shall meet the same fate that Prof. Nivedita Menon has been meted out of they object to the repeated violations of all norms in Selection Committees in particular. JNU teachers, some of whom have already taken the legal route in a bid to curb the Vice-Chancellor’s usurpation of powers in the matter of Selection Committees, will not bow to these dictates. Rather, the JNUTA recognises that Prof. Nivedita Menon has upheld exactly what the recent Supreme Court judgment on the right to privacy has stated to be one of the duties of an informed citizenry: “Above all, it must be realised that it is the right to question, the right to scrutinise and the right to dissent which enables an informed citizenry to scrutinise the actions of government. Those who are governed are entitled to question those who govern, about the discharge of their constitutional duties.” While the JNU Vice Chancellor and the Executive Council may have forgotten that they are directly bound to uphold the Constitution by virtue of their very designations, JNUTA salutes Prof. Nivedita Menon for her courage and determination in defending the JNU Act and Statutes.