Almost six months after the JNU administration said it would set up an inquiry committee against teachers to probe their alleged role in the disruption of an academic council (AC) meeting held in December, the committee has now asked AC members to send their depositions by July 3.
“All concerned are hereby informed that the Inquiry Committee has started the enquiry proceedings. In order to proceed in a transparent way and in consonance with the principle of natural justice, the committee has resolved that anybody who is a member/special invitee of the academic council and was present on the day of the incident needs to be given an opportunity to present his/her deposition in writing, if they wish to do so… Therefore, all concerned are requested to give their written deposition, if they wish so, in a confidential cover by July 3,” professor Bidyut Chakrabarty, chairman of the Inquiry Committee, said in a letter dated June 19.
The JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) took exception to the delay in the issuance of the letter, and the fact that it does not name whom the enquiry is against. “We would like to apprise the Executive Council of what the Supreme Court stated in 1985 as integral to the notion of natural justice: the person so charged must be informed of what the specific charges against her are, and the entire evidence against her. All witnesses presented by the prosecution must be examined in her presence, she must be given the right to cross-examine them… Nothing in this notice of the enquiry gives the JNUTA any confidence that any of these are going to be guaranteed in this enquiry,” said JNUTA president Ayesha Kidwai.