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It has been three days since Dr. Maheshwar Singh, Associate Professor at National Law University, Delhi has been on a hunger strike. Dr. Singh, who teaches political science, is protesting the allegedly unfair treatment meted out to him by the university administration.
Dr. Singh had applied for Professorship around three years ago, along with other faculty members. However, he came to know that while his colleagues had been selected by the Scrutiny Committee of the University, he had not. In subsequent communications with the Committee, he was asked to submit more documents to go with his application. However, this exercise bore no fruit. In fact, he is yet to receive any intimation of rejection of his application.
Added to this is the allegation that Prof KPS Mahalwar, head of the Scrutiny Committee and Chair Professor of Professional Ethics at NLU D, is under scrutiny himself for certain discrepancies. Dr. Singh says,
“He has been implicated in a similar case where he recommended one of the candidates. As it turned out, the documents provided by the candidate were either false or made up.”
This, Dr. Singh says, was revealed after RTIs were filed and FIRs were instituted against Prof Mahalwar. That matter is under consideration before another committee.
“My contention is that the recommendations of the Mahalwar Committee should be put on hold until the allegations against him are cleared.”
In reaction to Dr. Singh’s protest, the University has offered to form a new committee to solely consider his Professorship. However, Dr. Singh is not satisfied with this offer; he says that if such a committee is constituted, it must consider the applications of all candidates afresh, and not just his application.
The three-day hunger strike comes just before the Executive Council of the University is scheduled to meet tomorrow. According to Dr. Singh, the Council will take interviews of the candidates recommended for Professorship by the Scrutiny Committee.
Dr. Singh’s attempt to meet with Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ranbir Singh did not yield the desired result; he was asked to approach the courts if he had any grievance.
“I do not have the wherewithal to hire a lawyer and go to court. As you know, the courts tend not to interfere with affairs of a university…. the rules have not been applied uniformly in my case.”
An e-mail sent to the University Registrar did not receive any response, nor did repeated phone calls.