Senior faculty, ‘disgruntled’ candidates, activists protest alleged flouting of UGC norms, perfunctory selection process

Senior faculty members of the Jai Narain Vyas University (JNVU) have alleged irregularities in the university’s recent recruitment drive for faculty posts, accusing the university administration of favouritism and nepotism. The JNVU administration has squarely denied the allegations.

Sources inside the university told The Hindu that the selection process flouted norms laid down by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Supreme Court, resulting in candidates related to influential people being selected and several meritorious applicants overlooked.

However, the university maintains that recruitments were made in accordance with existing norms and officially established practices and allegations were being made by disgruntled candidates.

Candidates who could not make it through the selection process have been protesting en masse outside the Jodhpur district collectorate. While over 150-200 people, including candidates, activists and other concerned citizens, have been protesting for the last eleven days, two of them have been sitting on a fast unto death to protest the irregularities in recruitments.

According to university sources, the selection process allegedly violated the UGC’s 2010 notification which makes recruitment to the posts of assistant professor contingent on the applicant having passed the National Eligibility Test (NET) or the State Level Eligibility Test (SLET).

While the UGC exempts candidates who earned their PhD degrees in accordance with the UGC regulations of 2009 from requiring a NET or SLET qualification, the JNVU selected candidates who earned their degrees after July 2009, thereby violating UGC norms, it has been alleged.

“When the sole mode of recruitment is an interview, it is expected not more than 20 candidates are interviewed in a day to ensure good quality assessment. However, the JNVU administration broke all records by interviewing over 200 candidates in a single day. Some candidates were just asked their names and sent back, proving that the selections were premeditated,” L.N. Bunkar, Associate Professor (Psychology) told The Hindu.

“Also, this being a general recruitment drive and not a special one, the percentage of reserved posts should not have been more than 50. Yet, in some departments like Chemistry and Zoology, 100-per-cent posts were reserved,” said Prof. Bunkar.

However, talking to The Hindu, JNVU Vice-Chancellor B.S. Rajpurohit rubbished the allegations.

“The said UGC norms were accommodated in our university ordinances, which were, in July 2011, ratified by the syndicate, academic council and even the governor. So where is the question of flouting UGC norms?” said Dr. Rajpurohit.

“Further, let me assure you that all candidates were provided with enough time and opportunity to present their candidature and nobody was overlooked by our expert interview panels,” he said.

It has also been alleged that the recruitment was heavily biased towards candidates related to influential people, with some of them being selected on the basis of qualifications earned after the last date of applying.

“Some of the candidates, who were eventually selected, only had a Master’s degree when they applied. They had neither qualified NET/SLET nor had completed their PhDs at the time of application. They completed their PhDs as late as June 2012, five months after the last date of application,” said another Professor on the condition of anonymity.

However, Dr. Rajpurohit said it was only fair to accommodate certain academic achievements earned by candidates after submission of applications.

“If a candidate manages to publish a paper in a reputed journal, shouldn’t that be considered during his interview? Sometimes, such academic achievements are all interviewers are interested in as they bring out the candidate’s real scholarship potential,” said Dr. Rajpurohit.

“Right now, the matter is in the High Court and we will accept any decision made by the honourable HC,” he said.

The matter is scheduled to be heard next on 7th March.