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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

AMU VC Hits back: Reply of RTI Crusader Dr Tariq Islam

Right at the beginning I must express my gratitude to the various discussion groups for affording the opportunity for the debate on the controversy about my suspension by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. PK Abdul Azis.

Without mentioning names I would like to point out that there have been letters in defence of the Vice Chancellor. The main line of defence in these letters is that the Vice Chancellor too is facing an Inquiry and in a similar manner I may also face one. The parallel drawn is somewhat misplaced which is the genesis of the entire controversy.

Eight members of the Executive Council of the University submitted a memorandum to the President of India, the appointing authority of the Vice Chancellor [whereas the Vice Chancellor is not the appointing authority of teachers of the University]. The President, Shrimati Pratibha Devisingh Patil, following the principles of natural justice, to provide an opportunity to be heard, issued a show cause notice on which the Vice Chancellor represented his case. The President of India, in her capacity as the Visitor of the University, stating the reason that she is dissatisfied with the reply, instituted a ‘Fact Finding Inquiry Committee’, that is a second opportunity to be heard to the Vice Chancellor. The Committee incidentally met for the first time on 20th of August 2009.

In my case no explanation letter, show cause or any opportunity to be heard was provided violating all principles of natural justice. Therefore it would be erroneous to draw a parallel between the two cases.

However, the reference to the Inquiry against the Vice Chancellor in the letters lets the cat out of the bag, for this clearly indicates a link between the Inquiry against the Vice Chancellor and my suspension.

However, if the Vice Chancellor is convinced that a person against whom an Inquiry is being contemplated [not yet instituted] should be placed under suspension then the same definitely holds for the Vice Chancellor whose actions of suspected financial and administrative irregularities are under the scanner of an ongoing Inquiry. This holds even more since the Vice Chancellor by virtue of his office is in a position to influence the Inquiry and I am not. It is being alleged from various quarters, including the AMU Teachers Association that my suspension amounts to influencing the course of Inquiry.

I joined the Aligarh Muslim University as an ad hoc Lecturer in the middle of August 1981 after returning from London with a BA(Hons) degree in Philosophy and engaged MA(Final) and BA(Final) classes. I applied for admission to MPhil leading to PhD, which was recommended by the Board of Studies and went through the Committee for Advanced Studies and Research of the Faculty of Arts, the Equivalence Committee comprising of all the Deans of the University and presided over by the Pro-Vice Chancellor, and finally approved by the Academic Council of the University.

My admission was cancelled in 1984, just before a Selection Committee was to be held for permanent appointment to the post of Lecturer in the Department. However, upon a representation against the decision of the Vice Chancellor by me the matter was again taken up by the Equivalence Committee, which again recommended that my degree was equivalent and the then Vice Chancellor approved the recommendation and the order cancelling my admission was revoked. Subsequently, the Academic Council approved the action of the Vice Chancellor.

I was then appointed a Lecturer in temporary capacity from 1987 to 1999. I was declared eligible and faced a Selection Committee for a permanent appointment in 1999. Despite the declaration of the eligibility by the then Vice Chancellor and the recommendation of my selection by the Committee the same Vice Chancellor preferred not to issue my appointment order on the grounds that I was not eligible. I approached the Allahabad High Court and the sought relief was not granted. A special appeal against the decision of the High Court was filed at the Supreme Court of India which directed that the issue be reviewed by the University. However, in the meantime a review petition was filed at the Supreme Court against its decision. In other words the Supreme Court looked at the matter afresh for the second time.

Finally the Supreme Court [Civil appeal no. 7076 of 2000, page 08 para 1 &2] decided that the clock cannot be turned back and my equivalence cannot now be nullified. Thus the Supreme Court set aside the order of the High Court, allowed my original writ and directed my appointment with all consequential benefits.

Meeting all the conditions of eligibility for the post of Professor I applied for it. I received a letter on the directives of the Vice Chancellor to get my mark-sheet authenticated from the institution that issued it. The London Metropolitan University through a letter by Mr. Peter Fischer, Records and Compliance Officer, dated 16th February 2009 not only authenticated but embossed my mark-sheet with the University seal. I submitted the same to the Vice Chancellor on 1st March 2009 after which I did not receive any communication from the Registrar’s Office for nearly 06 months, which was expected since I fulfilled the requirement of the University.

I was shocked to receive the suspension notice without specifying any reasons thereof on the 26th August 2009, that is only 06 days, after the Fact Finding Inquiry Committee met for the first time and only 01 day before the affidavits were to be submitted before the Committee, that is on the 27th August 2009. I have not till date received any communication from the Registrar’s Office providing any documents, etc., substantiating the wild allegations floated around in the media.

It appears that I am being subjected to a media trial whereas prevalent practice and rules of the University mandate the procedure to be strictly confidential. Therefore the whole issue can only be meaningfully understood in the context of my exercise of right to information under RTI, that is the Right to Information Act, 2005.
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Comment left by Dr.Roby K.
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Dr. Azis has no respect for Rules :

While Dr. Azis was at CUSAT, he conducted an enquiry on me in 2005. But he did not inform the constitution of the enquiry committee or the allegations against me, before the enquiry. It took another 3 weeks to get me the allegation list. It was totally vague. But I could make out that the mistake was not on my part. I asked for documents to prove their allegations, which was not given. Later there was another meeting jan 2006 which was in favour. But few months later, I was suspended april 2006 by the syndicate (obedient). Fault was not with me but with the controller of examinations who admitted students without marks into examinations and with Dr. Azis who never visited the department to take stock of the situation there. He was always looking at funds running into crores and spending them. I did one thing - that one thing was "nothing". no point in going to somebody who is not willing to hear or see. Then he set up a syndicate committee. The committee did not find any fault with me except that I was not present before them (to listen to their dirty talk) when they met. Without proving any alegations Dr.Azis (i mean syndicate) decided to initiate procedures to remove me from service. A notice was published in news papers beg 2007. I responded to that by writing directly to the syndicate. My response was kept in abeyance by Dr.Azis for two months and by his registrar (he is the controller mentioned above) for more than an year (by that time Dr. Azis left to AMU) and it was placed in the syndicate only after that registrar was shifted from the registrar post. Later, I was reinstated in sept 2008. But the harm was not completely redone since the enquiry was not done in a proper fashion because there were other factors with ill minds and supportive of Dr. Azis.

Dr.Roby K., D.Eng.
Reader, Ship Technology,
CUSAT, Kochi 682022
roby@cusat.ac.in

1 comment:

roby said...

Dr. Azis has no respect for Rules :

While Dr. Azis was at CUSAT, he conducted an enquiry on me in 2005. But he did not inform the constitution of the enquiry committee or the allegations against me, before the enquiry. It took another 3 weeks to get me the allegation list. It was totally vague. But I could make out that the mistake was not on my part. I asked for documents to prove their allegations, which was not given. Later there was another meeting jan 2006 which was in favour. But few months later, I was suspended april 2006 by the syndicate (obedient). Fault was not with me but with the controller of examinations who admitted students without marks into examinations and with Dr. Azis who never visited the department to take stock of the situation there. He was always looking at funds running into crores and spending them. I did one thing - that one thing was "nothing". no point in going to somebody who is not willing to hear or see. Then he set up a syndicate committee. The committee did not find any fault with me except that I was not present before them (to listen to their dirty talk) when they met. Without proving any alegations Dr.Azis (i mean syndicate) decided to initiate procedures to remove me from service. A notice was published in news papers beg 2007. I responded to that by writing directly to the syndicate. My response was kept in abeyance by Dr.Azis for two months and by his registrar (he is the controller mentioned above) for more than an year (by that time Dr. Azis left to AMU) and it was placed in the syndicate only after that registrar was shifted from the registrar post. Later, I was reinstated in sept 2008. But the harm was not completely redone since the enquiry was not done in a proper fashion because there were other factors with ill minds and supportive of Dr. Azis.

Dr.Roby K., D.Eng.
Reader, Ship Technology,
CUSAT, Kochi 682022
roby@cusat.ac.in