NEW DELHI: Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association (JNUTA) organised a mock 'public trial' at the varsity, seeking the ouster of Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar after holding him 'guilty' on several counts.
Kumar was held 'guilty' for, among other things, allegedly bypassing the JNU Academic Council and tweaking minutes of its previous meetings not consented to by members.
The 'jury' comprised Delhi University professors Nandita Narain and Apoorvanand, JNU professors P K Yadav and Prabhat Patnaik (emeritus), and senior journalist Akshaya Mukul.
The 'public trial' was held on the Sabarmati Lawns on the campus, which began with reading of the charges against him by JNUTA president Ayesha Kidwai, economics teacher Jayati Ghosh and Professor Ravi Shrivastav.
"The campus is being run by him (Kumar) like a boot camp," Kidwai said.
The V-C was represented by JNUTA vice-president Amitabh Singh, who countered all charges by saying that there was no "inserting of minutes" in the Academic Council meetings and in all the cited instances of alleged violations he had duly "upheld the law".
During the trial, JNUTA presented the first of the seven charges from the 'chargesheet' it had submitted to the V-C as a memorandum, charging him with violations of statutory provisions by replacing the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) with the Internal Complaints Committee, framing the university's admission policy and appointing experts on the selection committee panels amongst others.
Kidwai alleged that "disciplinary action and vindictive punishments against students have become a norm in the university and faculty members have been removed for dissent".
She further questioned the round-the-clock surveillance in the varsity and said it was an attempt to stifle the democracy in JNU.
Moreover, Professor Apoorvanand suggested that an inquiry be conducted against him by the visitor of the university, i.e. the President of India, and the jury agreed that the V-C's conduct was against not just the JNU Act but other Acts of Parliament pertaining to the reservation. "It is the V-C who is the most unstable part of a university, which is run by teachers, students, and the non-teaching staff," he added.
"The Vice-Chancellor's actions are inimical to the premise of the university. In 40 years of my teaching, I have not seen a V-C who went against regulations and conventions like this," economist Prabhat Patnaik added.