Published: 26th November 2019
JNU appoints ABVP leader as assistant professor after shortlisting committee strike him off the list
Saurabh Kumar Sharma, the candidate, has been in a controversy regarding his PhD being granted to him the same day of his viva in May
The appointment of Dr Saurabh Kumar Sharma, a student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University as an Assistant Professor at the School of Computer & Systems Sciences (SC&SS), JNU is a massive scam, say sources at the university. Saurabh holds an MTech in Computational and System Biology from the School of Computational and Integrative Sciences (SCIS) of JNU while the advertisement for the post clearly mentioned that the candidate should hold either an MTech or ME or MPhil degree in Computer Sciences, said sources. The advertisements and shortlists are available on the JNU website. It is important to note that Saurabh's PhD had also run into a controversy when he was awarded his degree on the day of his viva, allegedly so that he could apply for the said post.
According to sources, Saurabh, who has been an active member of the RSS student wing, ABVP, was appointed against the recommendation of the shortlisting committee who had noted that his academic qualifications do not match the requirements for the post. "SC&SS had advertised for candidates with an MTech or ME or an MPhil degree in Computer Science as an essential criterion so that one can teach core courses of Computer Sciences. But a candidate with MTech in Computational Biology, like Saurabh, would have only limited knowledge of Computer with its applications to biological research," said the source.
But that's not all. He was also shortlisted for both a reserved and an unreserved post as an Assistant Professor at SCIS. "The criteria there was also similar. The candidate needed to have a degree pertaining to computational statistics which Saurabh does not have," said a source at the university. "But they even changed the criteria later to a degree in Computer Applications. This resulted in a lot of applicants who could not according to the previous advertisement to raise their voices against it," he added.
But why wasn't he appointed at the SCIS? "There are internal politics involved here as well. The Dean of the SC&SS is much more favourable to the administration that the Dean of SCIS. Moreover, the SCIS Dean had also signed a resolution passed by the entire faculty that the shortlisting criteria have been diluted," said the source.
Who selected him?
The Committee that selected him on November 25 was chaired by Vice-Chancellor, Dr Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar himself and comprised of the Dean of SC&SS, Dr TV Vijay Kumar, three experts — Atul Gosai (Saurashtra University), Anjana Gosai (I P University) and T Chitralekha (Pondicherry University). According to sources, the committee also had a Visitors' Nominee, one Dr Naidu from Pondicherry University and an OBC representative, Hemant Kushwaha a JNU faculty. Only the OBC position was filled while the ST and EWS position left vacant — None Found Suitable (NFS).
The Dean of SC&SS, Dr TV Vijay Kumar has been accused by professors of fixing PhD admissions and supervisor allocation. They also wrote to the Vice-Chancellor several times about it and have recently asked for his recusal from the faculty selection commission as they thought that he would fix the selections there as well. But there has been no communication from the VC's office or from the administration. "Dr Kumar, as an assistant professor got three promotions within a year to become a full professor, and then was appointed Dean of the School, out-of-turn," said a letter to the VC.
Dr Kumar refuted the claims and said that it was an attempt to tarnish and malign his image. "I was neither part of the admissions committee of the School nor was part of the screening committee for the post of Assistant Professor. It was done under the previous Dean of the School," said the professor, responding to the allegations.
Not the first time
This is not the first time JNU is being accused of politically motivated selections. In October, the Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies of the School of International Studies was in the news for appointing Anshu Joshi, who holds a PhD in Disarmament Studies was appointed Assistant Professor in Latin American Studies and Sneha Bhagat who did her PhD on Malaysia was appointed as the Assistant Professor in Canadian Studies. There were candidates who had ample experience in Latin American and Canadian Studies, said sources, and they claimed that it was a case of politically motivated bias as both Anshu and Sneha were ABVP members.
According to sources, neither Anshu nor Sneha have any expertise in the subject they have been appointed to teach. "Moreover, how is disarmament studies relevant to Latin America where not one of the 33 countries has a nuclear weapon. It does not make logical sense as to how Sneha's specialisation in South East Asian politics is relevant to Canadian Studies. They also have no knowledge of Spanish, Portuguese and French whatsoever which are the official languages in Latin America and Canada respectively," said other applicants.
The administration has remained equally unresponsive to letters from the faculty and from the media.
The story has been updated with Dr TV Vijay Kumar's response