Published: 14th January 2019
Good news for JNU teachers, HC stays circular that mandates marking daily attendance
The JNUTA and the JNUSU had been protesting continuously against the attendance mandate in the university
Exactly two months back, the Jawaharlal Nehru University issued a circular, mandating all its faculty to mark their daily attendance biometrically, much to the shock of the teachers and the students. After weeks of protest and discussions and not receiving a positive response from the university's Vice-Chancellor or the administration, finally, the Delhi High Court on Monday stayed the circular.
The JNUTA welcomed the HC move and expressed its happiness on the move. "The HC stay reinforces our belief tha the admin's decisions are illegal and of course irrational. They are without due process of law or do not serve any purpose," says Atul Sood, the Association's President. The petition was filed by Archana Prasad, a Professor at the university's Centre for Informal Sector and Labour Studies who wasn't granted leave for attending seminars, stating that she hadn't marked attendance.
The now invalid circular, dated November 13, says that all proposals and requests of faculty members, including leave requests, should be forwarded by the Deans and Chairpersons fo the concerned school for consideration of competent authority, only after confirming that the faculty member has adhered to attendance rules. This has created a lot of inconvenience for the faculty and had created a lot of hue and cry.
The Association had held a hunger strike in the university premises against this previously. "The teachers have always been in classes and doing all their duties. In that case, how can we be punished?" Sood questions. "It is definitely good news. The only reaction I expect from the administration is to obey the court's order," he adds.
The faculty also conducted a survey in December, asking professors from top universities across the world their opinions about the rule. Unanimously, all of them refuted the system and said that it will kill research and learning. At that time, we spoke to Professor Avinash Kumar, Secretary, JNUTa, who told us, "Most teachers and students reside here in the campus. The faculty is always available and schedule classes according to their and the students' convenience. The issue came up while discussing the student attendance and an external member Madhu Purnima Kishwar raised a point of Teachers' attendance."