Published: 26th June 2018
You are working against the institution: How Hindu College is suppressing a professor who is fighting autonomy
After he wrote to the MHRD, the Hindu College Staff Association's Secretary has been sent a show-cause notice for having worked against the interest of the college
A show-cause notice with the words "You, Mr Atul Gupta, must take note...." is what Hindu College Assistant Professor Atul Gupta woke up to a couple of days ago. The memo was issued by the principal and chairman of Hindu College warning him to keep his actions in check. What was he rapped on the knuckles for? Atul, the Secretary of the Hindu College Staff Association, had sent a mail to the Ministry of Human Resources and Development in May 2018 to register his concerns over the autonomous status of the Hindu College and the unsanctioned appointment of an ex-employee as a representative of a college governing body.
The letter sent in May triggered the Hindu College principal Anju Srivastava to send a show-cause notice to the professor. It read that the actions of the professor are against the interest of the institution and also without authorisation from the staff authorities, on behalf of whom he is accused to have purportedly signed the communication.
Responding to their claim that he didn't have the backing of his colleagues, professor Atul said that he has full support from the faculty after a no-confidence vote was passed against the college becoming autonomous. The notice hasn't particularly worried him any, "Do you sense any fear in my voice. No right? Actually, this incident has left me even more determined and empowered. I have got a lot of support from the students and my fellow teachers. Moreover, I am not doing anything wrong. I haven't worked against the institute and they can't blame me for something without a proper enquiry. Why should I worry?" he asked us.
The HCSA has even passed a resolution that if they don't withdraw the show-cause notice, there will be serious repercussions. The resolution was passed on June 20 and the body has been awaiting the reply from the authorities. "I am here to fight the corruption and I have my people supporting me," he concludes. The resolution stated, "The Staff Association stands in full support of the President and the Secretary as the act purportedly done by them is in no way against the interest of the College. The office-bearers of the Staff Association are in no way answerable to the Chairman, Governing Body. They are only answerable to the Staff as a collective."
Incidentally, his letter to the MHRD also referred to the meeting that was held on May 22, 2018, with the representatives of the various stakeholders of Hindu College, on the issue of autonomy for the college. The Teachers’ Staff Association raised serious objections to the presence, at that meeting, of Dr Ashok Mittal. "You may recall that Dr Mittal introduced himself as representing Hindu College, in his capacity as a nominee of the Chairman of the College Governing Body. This is a serious violation of the letter and spirit of the University of Delhi's Executive Council resolution. The said resolution concerns the composition of the Governing Bodies of Trust-maintained public funded DU colleges. Point (f) of the resolution specifically debars former employees of the college from becoming part of the GB as nominees of the Trust," he had explained in the letter.
According to the teachers' body, Dr Mittal was initially appointed in December 2013, as Project Consultant for construction activities in Hindu College, by the Chairman of the GB, again without calling a GB meeting (Copy of minutes of GB meeting attached). This appointment again violates the rules, this time regarding the appointment procedure for such posts as per UGC guidelines on Building Committee for construction activities.