A Mumbai University professor, who was suspended last week for allegedly misguiding the media about irregularities in the varsity, has moved the Bombay High Court claiming the action against him is “patently illegal.”
Prof. Neeraj Hatekar, a professor of Economics in MU, was suspended on January 4 by the university for allegedly misinforming the media about irregularities by Vice Chancellor Rajan Velukar and hence breaching the code of conduct.
The suspension came after Mr. Hatekar held a press conference on December 12 last year exposing Mr. Velukar for alleged mismanagement of the university.
The petition filed by Mr. Hatekar states that the vice chancellor cannot suspend him and that the decision of suspension has to be taken by the Management Council of the university. Also, there is a format for suspension which has to mention a proper reason, the petition said.
“The suspension letter issued to me has not followed the format,” Mr. Hatekar said.
According to the letter, Mr. Hatekar was being suspended for “violating code of conduct and moral turpitude.”
Mr. Hatekar said in his petition that the university’s code of conduct allowed freedom of speech.
Also, Mr. Hatekar claimed that 48 hours prior to taking the press conference, the press note was provided to all the members of the university. “If they found it offending then they should have informed me in advance,” he said.
Mr. Hatekar has sought for his suspension to be quashed.
In his press conference, Mr. Hatekar, as part of a group called Joint Action Committee for Improvement of Higher Education, had levelled allegations such as failure to collect its share of annual student fees from colleges, several co-opted members on the boards of studies not being qualified, unusable lecture halls, malpractices in conduct of examinations and dilution of qualifications for being a PhD guide.
The group had urged the state Governor to demand Mr. Velukar’s resignation.