Published: 05th September 2019
No cap on number of emeritus profs: JNUTA refute Registrar's claim of 'missed opportunity'
The Registrar said that they were attempting to check how much each professor had contributed towards the universities in the past few years
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association said that they are perplexed by the recent statements by the JNU Registrar on the emeritus professors' row. On September 4, the Registrar, Pramod Kumar, had said that there was a 'huge skew' towards the social science departments when it came to emeritus professors and that there are deserving candidates who have missed their chance to the position — he cited these as reasons behind the letters sent to the 12 professors over 75, including noted historian Romila Thapar, asking for their CV.
The registrar, in his statement also mentioned that this was a move to ascertain the contribution of the emeritus professors towards the institute, "It was on the basis of this new ordinance No 32 of Academic Rules and Regulations of the University that emeritus professors who have attained the age of 75 were requested to submit their contributions to the University in last few years so that a committee set up for reviewing the position could look into it. Since everyone is equal before the law, letters were sent to all 12 emeritus professors who have attained the age of 75 to know their availability and willingness to participate in the academic activities of the University."
Objecting to the statement, the JNUTA said that the professors deserve a retraction of such letters and also pointed out that the rule referred to is not an ordinance. "The JNUTA once again advises the JNU Registrar to recognise that rules formulated in 2018 cannot have retrospective effect. (It also recommends that he learn the difference between an Ordinance and a Regulation, as what the EC has amended is not the former but the latter) We reiterate that all the twelve Professors Emeriti deserve a retraction of the Registrar’s letter and a formal apology at the earliest," said Avinash Kumar, Secretary, JNUTA.
The teachers also accused the registrar of misinterpreting the facts. "JNU has always had clear rules about the appointment of emeritus professors. The current JNU regime has mainly and merely separated these clauses into a separate regulation. There is no cap on the number of Professors Emeriti at all, and that no deserving professor could have missed out on being designated one because of it. Any professor can nominate another professor for his/her contribution to the discipline and society, to emeritus status. Thus, the JNU Registrar’s insinuations about “huge skews” and “missed opportunities for deserving retired faculty” are just attempts to cover up what always been an intent to dishonour," added Atul Sood, President of JNUTA.
Dr Surajit Mazumdar, an elected teacher representative, in his letter to the JNU Registrar on September 11, 2018, objecting to the inclusion of this provision writes, “It is inappropriate to confer an honour on someone who has distinguished himself or herself only under the condition that they must be willing to accept also the possibility of being insulted in the future by its renewal being rejected through a review process. This amounts to reducing the conferment of the Status of Professor Emeritus to the level of a contractual appointment without pay!”