The Delhi University professors named in the Cobalt-60 radiation leak case that had resulted in one death and six injuries back in 2010, will now be eligible to hold administrative positions in the university, according to an Executive Council meeting on Saturday that revoked its earlier decision of not assigning such positions to them.
According to some EC members present at the meeting, the decision was influenced by the reasoning that the two committees set up to probe the matter had assigned collective responsibility for the incident on the entire Chemistry Department and not on any individual.
In 2010, the Department of Chemistry had disposed off radioactive material without following due procedure. Subsequently the material found its way to the Mayapuri scrap market where several people were exposed to high levels of radiation that claimed one life and left seven seriously injured.
Three EC members dissented on the decision to not fix responsibility on the individuals. The Chancellor’s nominee was among them.
“It is seen that the University is now declaring that no responsibility need be assigned or disciplinary action taken in a case that led to a radiation leak, injuries and death: first, by accepting the weakening of the responsibility of individuals concerned to a “collective” responsibility and second, by now deciding that no action should be taken against those individuals. We are today being asked to further distribute this “collective failure” to deliver justice to ourselves and to the entire University. This goes against every principle of assigning responsibility and is a sure recipe for future disasters,” read a dissent note.
Other decisions taken at the Executive Council meeting included appointments to the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Colleges. Professor Sudhish Pachauri who was the acting Pro-V-C since February — after Prof. Vivek Suneja who suddenly resigned following differences with the Vice-Chancellor — was given a permanent appointment. His earlier office of Dean of Colleges has been assigned to Prof. Malashri Lal who was Dean Academics until now.