More than half the members co-opted across various Boards of Studies (BoS) of the Mumbai University have been declared ineligible by Governor and Chancellor of universities in Maharashtra,K Sankaranarayanan. They have failed to meet the criteria for appointment as per regulations laid down in the Maharashtra Universities Act,1994.
On March 23,2013,Bombay High Court had asked the Governor to interpret the said Act and take a call in the matter. A hearing was conducted on June 11,2013,following which 10 out of 19 co-opted members were declared ineligible. The membership of these 10 candidates will be cancelled on this ground, said a spokesperson from Raj Bhavan.
The regulations for appointment of post-graduate teachers in the BoS are laid down under Section 37(3)(a) of the Act. The BoS perform several critical functions,which include designing curriculum,recommending exam paper-setter,shortlisting examiners,suggesting PhD referees and selecting deans.
We have not received any order from the governors office. There are elected members in BoS who subsequently co-opt members and the university has no role to play in this, said Mumbai University Vice-Chancellor Rajan Welukar.
The university has permanent BoS in about 38 subjects and over 40 ad hoc BoS. In the permanent BoS,there can be nine to 11 elected members and one member can be appointed by the BoS chairman through co-option. In ad hoc BoS,there can be five to seven elected members and one can be co-opted by the chairman. These 19 members were co-opted in 2011 across various BoS.
An application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by senior faculty members of the university in April 2011,however,revealed that teachers in some of the most important subjects,co-opted to BoS as post-graduate faculty,did not hail from colleges that have post-graduate teaching in that subject.
The issue was raised with university authorities and the formation of BoS in 2011 was delayed due to a ruckus between faculty members and university officials. No decision was taken at the university level. Faculty members moved court in April 2011 against the co-opted members and university authorities,stating that they were not qualified for the post.
Neeraj Hatekar,professor of economics at Mumbai University and one of the petitioners,said,According to the information under RTI,out of the 19 co-opted members,13 were not qualified for the post. If there are not enough qualified members,the university should have kept the posts vacant instead of appointing wrong and unqualified candidates. Several colleges offer post-graduate courses in subjects that are under dispute. The law clearly states that a professor appointed for BoS should be an approved post-graduate teacher.