A 35-year-old JNU research scholar has approached the Delhi High Court alleging that he was compelled to carry out research stating that Hindi is a “communal language”. The issue came up for hearing before Justice C Hari Shankar, who issued notice to the varsity and an associate professor, directing them to file their responses by April 23.
Ashutosh Kumar Roy, a PhD student at the Centre for Historical Studies, School of Social Sciences at JNU, through his counsel Dibyanshu Pandey, alleged he was “arbitrarily” suggested by the professor to change the course of his research to state that Hindi is a communal language and that his research must endorse this.
Roy, while seeking to enforce his fundamental right under the Constitution, sought directions to the varsity that he be allotted a PhD Supervisor for grant of registration in the Winter Semester 2019.
The plea sought inquiry into alleged wrongful denial of registration by JNU and its authorities for carrying out research pertaining to ‘Hindi Public Sphere (1870-1970): Debates on Nationalism’, which deconstructs significant prevailing ideas pertaining to Hindi language.
The plea alleged that the acts committed by the acting supervisor and others to “coax the petitioner to carry out a motivated research against Hindi language, against stalwarts of Hindi language, and arbitrary denial of permission to pursue PhD, is blatant violation of his fundamental rights as well as university rules”.
Roy, who joined JNU in 2012, alleged in his plea that after his former research supervisor quit, JNU had to appoint a new research supervisor without delay. “However, respondent No.1 (JNU) did not appoint any supervisor, thereby causing damage to the petitioner’s academics,” the plea said, adding that the university did not constitute a research advisory committee for him as well.
The plea said that he had submitted three representations for allotment of new supervisor to the Centre, between December 2017-June 2018, but no acknowledgment was given. It stated that he continued to work without supervision and submitted the self-improvised PhD synopsis on July 17, 2018, to the associate professor.“… The petitioner’s work was appreciated by faculty members after the presentation and no suggestions with respect to the research work were made to the petitioner. It is important to mention here that only verbal suggestions were made, related to a choice of words in the synopsis and the synopsis was passed,” the plea said. “After submission, the competent authority presents the synopsis before the Committee for Advanced Studies and Research,” the plea said, alleging that the professor kept the synopsis with her and said “… There is no place for such pro-Hindi research in JNU! You better go to Delhi University….and idolise Bhartendu Harishchandra!”.