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After row, CSIR form on scholars’ fidelity goes

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Researchers had to say they won’t remarry without permission from 'competent authority' if their spouses were alive.

A bizarre form that research scholars had to complete and sign before accepting a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been withdrawn. The form, CSIR officials confirmed to The Hindu, was a “decades-old bureaucratic legacy.” It asked fellowship recipients to declare that they would not remarry if their spouses were alive or not legally separated, without permission from “a competent authority.” The form spells out this requirement separately for “unmarried”, “married” and “female” scholarship recipients.

The JRF is a popular scholarship for researchers aspiring for a Ph.D. and is available through a competitive examination. The Hindu reported on June 4 that research scholars from the University of Hyderabad had questioned the propriety of such a form and argued that it interfered with individual privacy.

A photograph of the form was also uploaded by student-led activist groups and was circulating on Facebook.

S. Hasan, an official at the CSIR headquarters in New Delhi and handling JRF matters, said the form was replaced with a new one, available on the website and viewed by The Hindu, which doesn’t have any reference to the marital status of applicants. “This is a very old form but we looked into these issues after complaints from some students. It has now been removed,” Mr. Hasan said.

CSIR Director-General Girish Sahni told The Hindu that the form existed during the tenure of the previous governments, too. “This was probably part of a decades-old bureaucratic legacy but obviously is irrelevant to the present times. We’ve got it removed,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 7:26:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/After-row-CSIR-form-on-scholars%E2%80%99-fidelity-goes/article14427937.ece

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