THE PANJAB University Syndicate on Sunday decided to comply with the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s stay on the cancellation of the PhD and fellowship of a woman research scholar from the department of sociology at Panjab University. The Syndicate had in 2017 cancelled her PhD and fellowship after a complaint of sexual harassment was investigated by the Panjab University Committee for Sexual Harassment (PUCASH) and declared false.
“The candidate will continue her PhD and get her fellowship as well,” Syndic Prabhjit Singh told Chandigarh Newsline. “The legal retainer informed us at the Syndicate meeting today that an application has been moved by the university to remove the stay.” Singh said he had pointed out at the meeting that the university had moved the application without informing the Syndicate, which was a significant omission considering the stay order was against a decision of one of the governing bodies of the university.
“How has the university moved this application without informing the Syndicate? So, we must be assured that there will be no need to move that application. Also, the registrar will inform the members in a day or two as to who gave the orders to move this application,” he added.
He also said the Syndicate had not given any order to challenge the stay, and clarified that they were “not against the candidate continuing with her PhD and fellowship”. Chandigarh Newsline had reported that a new fact-finding committee was formed by the V-C to look into the PhD and fellowship cancellation, but the scholar had alleged that the committee had at least three members who favoured a resident of the PU campus against whom she had lodged a complaint of sexual harassment in 2017. She had demanded an independent committee and written to the V-C requesting the same.
The scholar had also lodged a complaint against former V-C Grover on July 20, alleging that he had intimidated her and tried to favour the person who she had accused of sexually harassing her. The complaint against Prof Grover was referred back to the Chancellor’s office for forming an internal committee during the Syndicate’s meeting on September 23.
The students of semesters 7 and 8 (final year) of University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) are likely to get a one-time “special chance” to clear their arrears as the Syndicate ratified the V-C’s decision on the same. However, the special chance will be granted to students of all professional courses provided there is “no violation of regulations as we cannot go against the rules”. Anuj Singh, the presidential candidate of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), had submitted a representation on the matter, followed by a protest in front of the V-C’s office and a hunger strike when the authorities did not respond.
The V-C, Prof Raj Kumar, also congratulated the members on the glorious journey of PU on its 135th foundation day. He said PU was a premier educational institute of the country and solicited support from all to move forward. The Syndicate members welcomed and appreciated the V-C for giving the additional charge of the post of Registrar to Prof Karamjeet Singh, Dean of Business Management and Commerce, and approved the same. No decision has been taken on when the university will publish an advertisement and for how long Prof Karamjeet will hold the additional charge.
The Syndicate also gave its nod to the recommendations of the committee for suitable amendments in the guidelines to organise seminars and conferences. It allowed by-election for one seat of the Senate from the Constituency of Heads of Affiliated Arts College that fell vacant after the death of Dr H S Gosal, principal, Govind National College, Narangwal, Ludhiana.
It ratified the decision of the V-C for extending the term of Dr Rakesh Khullar, Medical Officer (on Contract), Bhai Ghanaiya Ji Institute of Health, till the post for the same was filled by the university. The decision of the V-C to introduce various vocational courses was also approved and the date of submitting applications was extended up to October 25.