MKU issues press statement against professor who was removed as HoD

The stand-off between the Madurai Kamaraj University administration and one of its professors has intensified with the varsity issuing a press statement on Tuesday against S. Krishnaswamy, who was removed as the head of Department of Genetic Engineering (DGE) in March.

The Registrar (in-charge) S.V. Hariharan issued a statement accusing Mr. Krishnaswamy of indulging in a “mud slinging campaign against the university authorities in gross violation of code of conduct and legal ethics” and requested the media to publish the statement “in the interest of a public institution which was (being) subjected to attack out of mala fide intention.”

According to the press communiqué, Mr. Krishnaswamy was relieved from the DGE and shifted to the Centre of Excellence in Bio-informatics (CEB) as he was ineligible to hold the post of Head of DGE, a statutory department. It claimed that he joined as an Information Scientist in the bio-informatics project of the School of Biological Sciences on a temporary basis in 1990.

In 1997, he was placed as an Information Scientist in CEB in the Professors scale of pay in violation of norms laid down by the University Grants Commission, the university as well as the State government. In 2001, he was re-designated as a Reader with effect from 1990 and as Professor with effect from 1997, again in violation of norms applicable for such re-designation.

He was elevated as a Senior Professor in 2007 and “erroneously” nominated as Head of the Department of Genetic Engineering in 2009, the statement claimed. “Dr. S. Krishnaswamy has been bringing discredit in a habitual manner to the university… by launching an online misinformation campaign through his old students and association friends which is a gross violation of all service rules,” it read.

It also pointed out that the Madras High Court Bench here had last month dismissed a case filed by him challenging his removal from DGE.

“I’m kept out”

Reacting to the press release, Mr. Krishnaswamy said that he had been shifted from a statutory department to a less significant centre of excellence with the motive of keeping him away from the university’s Academic Council and Senate meetings. “The authorities do not want any one to raise questions at such meetings and therefore the entire exercise of shunting me out is an attempt to curtail the voice of dissent,” he said.

Claiming that he had been rightly appointed in DGE, he said: “After shifting me out, the university has appointed another female professor as the head. But the irony remains that the incumbent was promoted as a Professor in 2010 on the basis of clearance given by a committee comprising me. If I am ineligible to be the HOD, then she too is ineligible because her professorship itself becomes questionable.”

Mr. Krishnaswamy also said that he received a communication from the university on March 15, informing him that he had been relieved from the headship of DGE.

The communication did not state any reason and was issued without giving him an opportunity of hearing. It led to large-scale protests by his students, both past and present, and also a section of the faculty.

Some of his former students, based in foreign countries, started an online campaign seeking his reinstatement.

They also sent representations to the Governor who is the Chancellor of the university.

“All this made the administration send me a revised communication on March 22 stating that I am ineligible to be the head of the DGE,” he added.

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