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Rajasthan University promotes 205 as Professors amid concern

In an order dated September 25, post a hurriedly called meeting of its Syndicate which many members kept out of, the university promoted 107 in-service and 98 retired associate professors -- part of the 272 it had appointed on an ad hoc basis, without any selection process, to fill vacancies.

Written by Hamza Khan | Jaipur |
September 29, 2021 2:40:57 am

DESPITE more than one letter from the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the state government expressing concern over allegedly “illegal” promotion of teachers at the University of Rajasthan, 205 in-service and retired teachers have been promoted by it as professors.

In an order dated September 25, post a hurriedly called meeting of its Syndicate which many members kept out of, the university promoted 107 in-service and 98 retired associate professors — part of the 272 it had appointed on an ad hoc basis, without any selection process, to fill vacancies.

On August 12, Prof R L Meena, a government nominee on the university’s Syndicate and Selection Committee, had first brought the matter to the attention of the UGC, noting that the university was ignoring its 2018 regulations on teacher appointments, which superseded the 2010 norms on the same. The UGC had then written to the University of Rajasthan demanding an explanation, followed by a letter by the state Higher Education Secretary, N L Meena.

“The matter is in the knowledge of the government. We are examining it,” N L Meena told The Indian Express, adding that the university seemed to have “interpreted” the UGC guidelines.

Defending the promotions, Vice-Chancellor Rajeev Jain said: “Whatever we have done, we have done according to the 2010 regulations and its subsequent amendments. UGC too says (this) can be done. We have not adopted the 2018 regulations, but in the coming time, we will adopt them.”

To avoid giving “hardship” to certain faculty members already up for promotion under existing rules, Section 6.3 of the UGC’s 2018 regulations had given the option for promotion under the Career Advancement Scheme under prevalent norms. It had said this option could be exercised up to three years from the date of notification of the new regulations.

In his letter, Meena wrote that the university “is conducting the selection process” for promotions neither as per the 2010 nor the 2018 regulations, and that the Career Advancement Scheme option expired on July 17, 2021 (three years after the 2018 norms were notified).

Jain, however, claimed that the state government had given the university permission to give promotions under the scheme till September 30. “We were given the extension in August,” he told The Indian Express.

Meena also pointed out that both the 2010 and 2018 regulations state that for promotion under the Career Advancement Scheme, an applicant teacher must be enrolled and in active service of the university/college on the date of consideration by the Selection Committee. This should have kept out the retired teachers from consideration.

The UGC first wrote to the university on August 27, with the subject matter ‘illegal selection process for promotion under Career Advancement Scheme as Professor’, asking it “to look into the matter seriously and make comments at the earliest”.

The university continued to hold Selection Committee meetings till September 12.

Subsequently, the UGC again wrote to Vice-Chancellor Jain on September 22 saying that the regulations and amendments issued by the UGC “are mandatory in nature and cannot be overlooked at any stage”. It again asked the university that promotions “may kindly be carried out in accordance (with) the UGC Regulations”.

On September 24, Secretary Meena wrote to the university with a “recommendation to proceed as per clear directions” issued by the UGC.

The next day, the university promoted 205 to the post of professors.

According to Meena, even the Syndicate meeting held that day involved several violations. Apart from Meena, Congress MLA Amin Kagzi and Professor Alpana Kateja left the meeting, while Sandesh Nayak, Commissioner, College Education, and Governor’s nominee Dr Rajesh Singh, among others, kept away.

Meena said that as per statutory provisions six persons are required to meet the quorum for the Syndicate meeting. After he and the others left or didn’t attend, the six who remained included Dr Dilip Singh, a candidate under consideration for promotion. He should hence have been disqualified from participation in the meeting, Meena said.

Meena has also written a letter to Governor Kalraj Mishra, the Chancellor of state universities, noting this.

An official said that considering the subject of the meeting, “certain members opted to keep away from the meeting, which was anyway called on a very short notice”.

Kagzi said he had demanded that the meeting follow high court orders with regards to promotions as well as government guidelines and the recent letters. “We indeed want more professors, but I wanted the process to be examined. It should be transparent and as per the law,” the Congress MLA said.

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