We met the Vice Chancellor yesterday and past service counting (PSC) and CAS were two of the major issues discussed at length. Prof Pandit has assured us that all the points raised by the JNUTA have either been taken into account or are actively being resolved by the university. On issues other than the PSC and CAS, a separate JNUTA communique will be issued shortly.
To start with, around 40 cases of CAS promotions have been processed so far and office orders have either been issued to the faculty concerned or are in the process of being issued. An important issue to underline here is that, unlike the previous administration, the processing of applications this time has not been done selectively. While this in itself is a heartening piece of news (especially when seen in the backdrop of 276 pending cases from the previous administrations), we raised certain critical issues with Prof Pandit in this regard.
In some of the current cases of promotions, people have lost years of past service because of a misinterpretation (deliberate or otherwise) of UGC regulations by the present Assistant Registrar of the JNU academic branch. In other instances, the demands made by the academic branch are bordering on ridiculous. Please sample this to get a sense of the latter — despite submitting an experience certificate from the previous institution, one of our colleagues was made to run from pillar to post and asked to bring a separate letter which said the initial appointment was made following legal procedures as laid out by the UGC. As if other central universities make appointments following flawed and illegal procedures!
Allow us to elaborate on some of the critical issues raised in the discussion yesterday and their (proposed) resolution:
- Past service count: We were shocked to know that a new circular has come from the Ministry of Education (MoE), which says that all the cases of past service pending for the years between 2000 and 2010 will not be considered and the faculty members would have to forgo their years of past service. This circular is so bizarre that it is difficult to believe but, sadly, such a circular has indeed been received by the university. Prof Pandit has assured us that this circular, which has implications not just for JNU but for all central universities in the country, will be contested by the university at the highest levels. In the meantime, the JNUTA is exploring political action to get this circular withdrawn immediately. The point, however, is more complex for our university. Even in the absence of this circular, the Academic branch (yet again) has so far been most reluctant in resolving these cases citing some reason or the other, for eg., CAG audit, issue pending with the UGC, post-doc not to be counted, file untraceable etc.. It is quite frustrating and demotivating for our colleagues, some of who have had their cases pending with the university for over a decade now. Some colleagues may end up losing 10-15 years of service if the academic branch has its way. In light of these developments and the proposed action plan, we would request all the colleagues whose cases are pending to hang in there and the JNUTA assures you that we will do whatever we can to help get your due.
- Choice of forms: Despite the new CAS committee members informally agreeing to the correct interpretation of UGC-2018 regulations that teachers eligible before 18 July 2018 have a choice to apply under the then applicable UGC regulations (2010/2016 or 1998/2000), the academic branch (yet again) has so far stonewalled these applications. Many colleagues again will lose years of service with this retrospective application of regulations. Prof Pandit has assured us that faculty members should apply according to their respective regulations and they will be processed as such. In case some complications arise, the CAS committee, the Vice Chancellor assured, will help resolve the issues.
- Orientation/Refresher courses: We were told by the Vice Chancellor, after her intervention in the last meeting with the UGC, that a new circular has come from the UGC, which has relaxed the date of orientation/refresher till 2023 for those applying under the new UGC regulations. This will be a major reprieve for many of our colleagues applying under the new regulations since many have not managed to do these as a result of the pandemic. For those under 2010/6, the relaxation had already been given till December 2018. This more or less solves the issues related to these faculty development programmes which were a major impediment in CAS applications.
We hope the resolutions proposed by Prof Pandit will be taken up in right earnest by the university administration. We would like the faculty members to keep these pointers in mind while they make their CAS applications.