Jadavpur University faculty members have expressed displeasure over a plan to prevent teachers from criticising the government, especially in the media. A seven-member panel set up on February 8 formulated a 28-page draft West Bengal Universities and Colleges (Administration and Regulations) Rules.
The rules bar them from communicating official information without written permission from the vice-chancellor. It also bars them from adversely criticising state or central government policies.
State education minister Partha Chatterjee said he was not aware of these draft rules.
“…Official information obtained in course of employment must not be communicated by any employee to any outsider or to the press or electronic media without the written permission of the vice-chancellor. Violation of the provisions of this statute shall entail disciplinary proceedings against the erring employee,’’ reads Clause 8 of the draft rules, seen by The Indian Express.
“…No employee of the University shall without the written permission of the vice-chancellor publish anonymously or in his own name or in the name of any other person in the press or any electronic media any document or make any statement of fact or opinion (a) that has the effect of adverse criticism of any current policy or action of the state government or the central government and (b) that is capable of embarrassing the relations between the state government and the central government or the government of any other state or foreign state (c) that is capable of embarrassing the relations between the state government and the central government or the government of any other state or any foreign state.”
State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said, “We have to look into the matter. We will make sure that nothing is forcibly imposed.’’
Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association Assistant Secretary Partha Pratim Ray criticised the draft. “These draft rules have no scope for the betterment of the higher education. They have been formulated only to insult the teachers and bring them under the state government’s control,’’ said Ray. He said the draft rules are aimed at throttling the freedom of expression. “The state government has also made provisions in the draft rules that we will not be able to move any court against the order of the tribunal which the draft rules aim to constitute.”
Ray demanded immediate scrapping of the rules. He said teachers, other staff and officers at the university will stage a protest demonstration on the campus on April 26 against the draft rules.
“An appeal against the order imposing any of the penalties imposed by the syndicate or the executive council or the governing body/administrator shall lie to a tribunal to be constituted by the state government. The decision of the tribunal shall be final and binding upon the university or college concerned and the appellant and no suit or proceeding shall lie to any civil court against the order of the tribunal,” says section 21 of the rules.