As registrations for the next semester at Jawaharlal Nehru University begin Monday, research scholars applying will be required to sign an undertaking declaring that they are not employed. The information was revealed in a circular dated July 11, signed by the Deputy Registrar (Evaluation). The move has drawn the ire of a section of students and teachers, who said the decision is against the university ordinances.
“All Deans of Schools of Studies/Chairpersons of Special Centres/Chairpersons of Centres are requested to take an undertaking from each student at the time of his/her registration with their School/Special Centre/Centres concerned for any programme of study stating that he/she is not employed in any government/public/private sector. This is issued with the approval of the competent authority,” the circular stated.
Rector I Chintamani Mahapatra told The Indian Express that the university was simply following the 2016 UGC gazette notification.
“As per UGC rules, no full-time research scholar can hold jobs anywhere. Since many people do not read the entire notification, we issue these circulars periodically to alert them. This rule existed earlier too, but it wasn’t very clear. In MPhil, there is no concept of part-time jobs, but at the PhD level, if somebody wants to work, they need to enroll themselves as a part-time research scholar, which means they can’t avail the hostel facility,” he said.
However, former JNU Teachers’ Association president Ayesha Kidwai claimed JNU is violating its own ordinances. “The 2016 prospectus allows the possibility of admitting 12.5% students who are employed in PhD. The university has already said that students will be governed by ordinances and prospectus in force at the time, and since the 2016-17 batch is still undergoing the process of registration, they cannot stop them from registering.”
JNU’s admission policy states: “Candidates enjoying employed status and selected for admission shall be required to produce Leave Sanction Order for a period of two years at the time of registration. However, there is a limited provision of 12.5% for candidates employed in research and teaching institutions located in NCR region for admission without leave.”
Academic ordinance of January 2016 also states: “Before completing the minimum period… no candidate admitted to course of research for the PhD degree shall undertake any employment… Those engaged in teaching and research in recognised institutions located in Delhi may be exempted.. In no School/Centre should this category exceed 12.5% of the number enrolled for MPhil/PhD.”
The new ordinances, updated in April 2017, do not mention that research students cannot be employed at the time of registration. A research scholar at JNU, who teaches at a Delhi University college, said the move would affect many students.
Mahapatra, however, said, “JNU is following UGC rules. It doesn’t make rules of its own on these kind of things.”