The Forum Against Corruption (FAC) has taken a strong exception over the recruitment of more than 250 teachers in Himachal Pradesh University, Summerhill, Shimla, at the posts of assistant professors, associate professors and professors. In a press conference address here today convenor of FAC and former Deputy Mayor Tikender Singh Panwar said that they demand a Commission of Inquiry to be constituted for thoroughly probing into the fraudulent manner of recruitment of these teachers. Such a commission should be headed by a sitting judge of the HP High Court, Shimla, they demanded.
The scale of corruption and violation of the procedures in the recruitment is so large that it does not just pertain to the recruitment of a few teachers, rather is a hedgehog fraud that has been lead by none other than those in power compounded with a lot of kickbacks in monetary terms. Hence a thorough commission is required to probe into the illegalities that pertain not just to the HPU and its officials but also to those who have supplied experience certificates fraudulently.
This is about the recruitment of teachers since 2014 when Sikander Kumar was the vice chancellor and continues till date when S P Bansal is heading the institution. It is the recruitment of around 250 teachers done in contravention to the UGC rules and provisions of law as laid in the HPU Act.
He said that important recruitment in HPU, done ignoring the fact that selected without verification that candidate has done research work and has been able to publish research paper or articles in journals that are specified by the UGC. However, some of the people who have been appointed do not qualify for this condition. There are cases where candidates are showing their experience of work since 2004 even before the person was awarded a master’s degree or PhD.
Interestingly out of 7 publications exhibited by the person, 5 were in one single journal in journalism and mass communication. For recruitment in HPU a candidate should have cleared National Eligibility Test(NET) from the UGC. Those who do not have a NET qualification were given relaxation in 2009 with the consideration that they must have a PhD. However, the PhD should qualify under five conditions. The PhD should have been done in regular mode. Two, papers should have been published in journals pertaining to the PhD thesis. At least two seminars should have been attended pertaining to the thesis topic. The evaluation of the PhD should have been done by an external examiner and Viva should have been done on an open platform.
There are selections that have been made violating these conditions and the selected candidates have been appointed who neither had a NET qualifier nor a PhD with these conditions.
About Experience certificate:
They said that it is essential that the candidate applying for the post possess a certain period of exposure in teaching and research, which is duly specified by the UGC. There are cases of appointments where a plain certificate has been attached from the last institution without even furnishing other details. Take for example a candidate possessing such a certificate who should have been duly recruited in the previous institution following the procedures. Besides, there should have been mention of service book, income tax return etc., however, candidates selected are lacking all these details and lack the necessary experience required for appointment. Some of the candidates who were appointed had availed extraordinary leave and this leave period has also been considered to be part of the experience in research and teaching.
Transfer of post from one department to another: Grapes are grapes and apples are apples, he added. However, in HPU grapes and apples are the same. A post that was advertised in the biotechnology department was transferred to the physical education department without even getting due sanction from the academic council specifying the reasons thereof.
This was done to adjust one of the regime’s person to qualify in physical education. Highlighting EWS fraud he said that a person qualifying for the post of associate professor after serving 10 years as an assistant professor continues to remain in the EWS category. Is it a joke or a criminal act surpassing even the basic modesty of the principles that should have been followed?
The FAC also alleged breaching of Executive Council power which is is the highest decision-making body under the HPU Act. The EC is also mandated to check errors in recruitment if they are not addressed by the screening panel. However, Bansal the acting vice chancellor usurped those powers and instead of taking the matter to the EC, issued appointment letters to the candidates, the same day, who were interviewed in the morning. The UIT is another case of scandalous recruitment of 15 teachers. Those who were possessing PhD degrees were left out and MTechs were appointed. Some of the recruitment was done by those who were serving in shops as technical experts.The worst part is academic corruption. There are cases where the last 40 in the selection list were given appointments and the top ones were left out. Then there are cases where a candidate found ineligible by the screening committee was called for an interview and appointed to the university.
Providing large-scale financial benefits:
In utter violation of the rules, some of the teachers appointed in HPU were given arrears worth lakhs of rupees for their service in private colleges. FAC alleged that all revelations were made through massive RTI information sought over a long period and are nothing less than a major scandal that shall rock not just the HPU administration but also the incumbent government. Without their tacit or active support, this would not have been possible. It is imperative for the people to know that the teachers teaching at the highest institution of learning would actually be ruining the careers of thousands of students as neither have they the academic acumen to reach out to academic standards nor the morality of fairness in selection; which eventually will jeopardise the institution itself. This could not be allowed to happen and hence must be thoroughly probed and the guilty must be brought to book. It is even worse than the private universities scandal which was unearthed recently.
He said that FAC would expect the government to institute a Commission failing to which it would be taken to logical conclusion by knocking the door of courts.
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