Dalit candidate’s appointment cancelled without specifying any reason, raising questions about the transparency of selections

Just three months after attaining ‘peace’ on its campus, the Osmania University is now agog with a fresh controversy, this time with regard to faculty recruitments.

The cancellation of the recruitment of a Dalit woman candidate, a day after the issue of appointment letter, has raised many eyebrows, apart from questions about the transparency of selections. The candidate B.Archana received a letter from the university on September 25, appointing her as Assistant Professor in Business Management under the quota of Scheduled Castes. She was also asked to give a joining report to the Head of the Department on the same day, and sign the register.

Her joy was short-lived though. After celebrations with family and friends, when she went to the department the next day, she was shown a letter from the Registrar cancelling her appointment. More surprisingly, the cancellation letter Archana received through post a few days later did not mention any reason.

Another SC candidate V. Samunnatha was appointed in her place with no loss of time. All the three letters were issued with the same date, September 25. When contacted, University Registrar M.S.N. Reddy cited “oversight” as the reason for the first appointment letter issued “mistakenly”. He blamed it on confusion which ensued during evaluation of academic work by both the candidates, and said all the relevant documents will be presented before the appropriate authority when the time comes.

However, teachers from the university admit that they have never seen a “mistake” like this in the university appointments. With recruitments happening after a long gap of 20 years, stakes are apparently high for faculty positions.

“There is no scope for mistaken identity in the university recruitments. A list containing only the names of selected candidates is usually circulated, for members of the Selection Committee to sign. After that, the list will be presented in a sealed cover to the university’s Executive Council,” a teacher informed under the condition of anonymity.

Selection committee includes Vice-Chancellor, experts from UGC, Head of the Department, Dean of the college concerned, SC and OBC representatives, and representatives from State government, apart from three external experts on the subject concerned.

Incidentally, a sub-committee constituted under the Executive Council (EC), goes through all the details of the selected candidates before finalising the list. The sub-committee, chaired by the Commissioner of Collegiate Education, is empowered to call for all the recruitment proceedings and video recordings of the interviews.

Though the initial notification was for about 200 posts, the recruitments in a few departments have run into rough weather, when candidates sought a legal recourse, alleging irregularities. Allegations about political influence and money play are rampant, as vouched by the students’ organisations.

“In the light of the fresh controversy, we demand investigation into all the selections by an enquiry committee comprising honest academicians. In the present case, both the candidates should be appointed as it is a mistake on part of the university,” said Mandala Bhaskar, president of All Mala Students Association.

OU Teachers’ Association president B. Satyanarayana affirmed that the association is probing into the controversy.

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