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RTI activist sends legal notice to Panjab University about ‘backdoor’ recruitment of guest faculty

The legal notice alleges “the present as well as the former VC have frequently abused their position to appoint candidates of their choice” without inviting applications through public notice.

By: Express News Service | Panchkula | December 11, 2020 12:17:29 pm
Legal notice to Punjab University for backdoor recruitment of guest facultyThe notice alleged the possibility of a nexus between the backdoor appointees. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Panjab University, Chandigarh, was served a legal notice for enquiry into alleged backdoor recruitment of guest faculty, besides expeditious removal of all such appointees at the varsity.

The notice, served by RTI Activist RK Singla through his attorney Sunil Kumar Dhanda, has invoked orders by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana after which, in 2014 the university syndicate had modified recommendations of the committee regarding norms of appointment of guest faculty in teaching departments.

The amended policy had stated that a notice inviting applications from prospective candidates for posts of guest faculty needs to be put on the university website and the department’s notice board. It was also mandated that all such appointments will be made through a duly constituted selection committee comprising chairperson of the department, a VC nominee and at least two subject experts.

However, the legal notice has alleged “the present as well as the former VC have frequently abused their position to appoint candidates of their choice” without inviting applications through public notice.

In order “to ascertain the veracity of rumours”, Singla had sought the API score of candidates interviewed and minutes of meeting of selection committees that were constituted for the appointment of at least three Assistant professors in Baba Bajraj PU constituent college in 2014, namely Ranveer Singh (English), Charan Singh (Physical education) and Sarabjit Singh (Public administration) under the RTI Act.

“Both the Public Information Officers of University, Deputy Registrar as well as Principal of the said college have expressly admitted that said appointments have been approved by VC of PU, but neither the university nor the college have any records of their selection. Therefore, this constitutes as a case of blatant abuse of position by two university vice chancellors,” the notice stated.

The notice has also questioned the role and involvement of Resident Audit Officer, appointed at the university through the Chandigarh Administration, questioning as to “how the role of RAO/Audit officer was given a passer bye to ensure unobstructed flow of salaries to these backdoor appointees also requires to be probed.”

The notice alleged the possibility of a nexus between the backdoor appointees. “Establishment Branch which overlooked procedural requirements, Vice-Chancellors who gifted appointment orders without open notice and selection process, Accounts Branch/Audit which released salaries to these backdoor appointees cannot be denied,” said the notice.

Singla, through the notice, has requested that the backdoor guest faculty appointees be removed from service expeditiously and the whole affair be enquired into by an agency outside the purview, control or influence of University’s Vice-Chancellor(s) so that those guilty of using a public institution for personal interests could be penalised.

“You are hereby called upon to compensate my client and take strict action within 30 days of receipt of this notice, failing which my client shall be constrained to take legal action against, such proceedings, both civil and criminal as are warranted by law exclusively at your own risk, cost, responsibility and consequence,” the notice reads.

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