Plagiarism by a professor cannot be tolerated, said the Delhi High Court on Friday while hearing a plea against a JNU associate professor, alleging that the PhD thesis he submitted in July, 2000, was plagiarised. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to professor S K Ishtiaque Ahmed, JNU and the HRD Ministry, and directed them to file their responses. It also directed JNU to file a status report after examining the allegations levelled against Ahmed.
The bench sought an explanation from the professor, and listed the matter for further hearing on August 10. “Plagiarism cannot be tolerated by any professor. If they indulge in this kind of practice, criminal action can be taken against them,” it said. The court’s direction came on a PIL filed by a JNU research scholar Nadeem Akhtar. It sought directions to prohibit the professor from supervising any MPhil/PhD students till the pendency of the plea. The plea also sought directions to quash his PhD degree, and his selection as assistant and associate professor.
Advocate R K Saini and Akshita Raina, appearing for the petitioner, said the professor had submitted his thesis in July, 2000 and was awarded a PhD in Persian. His thesis was on the ‘Political Radicalism in Pre-Islamic Revolutionary Persian Literature of Iran’, with special reference to the writings of Dr Ali Shariati. The plea claimed that a huge chunk of Ahmed’s thesis was lifted verbatim from 15 different sources. “Subsequently, he wrote a book, ‘IRANIAN POLITICS: Intellectuals and Ulama’,” the plea said, adding that the same was also plagiarised. Akhtar also said he had filed a complaint with the varsity, which let off Ahmed, then an assistant professor, with a warning.