DTF members urge meeting of DUTA Executive to discuss High Court order of 16.5.2011 and response from UGC on service conditions
Aditya Narain Mishra,
Delhi University Teachers’ Association
27 May 2011
We, the undersigned, request you to urgently convene a meeting of the DUTA Executive to discuss the highly questionable order pronounced on 16.5.2011 by the High Court of Delhi in the W.P.(C) No. 822/2011 filed by the DUTA. We draw your attention specifically to paragraph 8 of the said order wherein it is stated that “we command that all the teachers of the University of Delhi and all colleges affiliated to the said University shall cooperate in all aspects and teach in the semester mode and not proceed on the path of deviation which would, in the slightest manner, bring them in the net of the violators of the orders of the Court, for the order of Court has to be treated with respect regard being had to its sanctity in a country governed by Rule of Law.”, and to paragraph 9 wherein it is stated that “we repeat our order which was passed on earlier occasion and command the teachers of the University and the affiliated colleges not to deviate and to extend fullest cooperation on all aspects and in all spheres pertaining to teaching in the semester mode.”
It is shocking that such an order has been pronounced in the context of the resolution passed by the Staff Council of the Dyal Singh College on 2.5.2011 that is critical of the notification issued on 19.4.2011 in the name of the University of Delhi by its administration demanding that colleges mention in their prospectus that all courses would be in the semester system when the University of Delhi had not brought about such a change on that day and seeking unreasonable demand that additional eligibility criteria for admission to the various courses of the colleges be framed without providing the information about the contents of the courses. During the hearing on 12.5.2011, the University counsel explained the meaning of “additional eligibility criteria” for admissions first as courses to be provided for the semester system and then as criteria required to pass from one semester to the next. The conclusion reached by the Court that not providing additional eligibility criteria is tantamount to violating the Court’s order to teach in the semester system needs to be questioned at least to get know what in the Court’s mind is teaching in the semester system.
It is pertinent to mention that the administration in a manner that is manipulative and academically poor managed meetings of the AC and EC on 25.5.2011 and notified on 9.5.2011 the questionable decisions taken by these bodies without due application of mind and based on concerns other than academic. The order of the court ignores these facts.
If the extension of co-operation were to mean that a teacher as a member of the statutory body cannot express its opposition to arbitrary dictates by the administration, moreover when those are at variance with the Act, Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations of the University, the order does not appear to be judicious or sensitive about the academic consequences.
In fact the order goes beyond the issue of Dyal Singh College resolution and beyond the earlier orders by the court in W.P.(C) 7248/2010 filed by Mr. M.R. Gupta as well as the in relation to the writ by the DUTA. While on 15.11.2008, in the context of the 13 UG science courses directed that “The teachers serving in all 31 colleges, out of which in 13 colleges wherein semester system has been introduced as have been identified by the University shall teach in the semester mode”, the order passed on 8.2.2011 to the effect that “The teachers teaching in the University or the affiliated colleges shall not go on strike and impart education in the semester system.” was ambiguous. The ambiguity of that order to impart education in the semester mode has now received a sweeping interpretation pronounced on 16.5.2011 that teaching in semester mode may mean not only teaching in semester mode such courses which are in semester mode but co-operate in every way with somehow in converting all courses to semester system. Co-operation is a laudable action. However, if co-operation means teachers not showing a sense of responsibility towards courses that would be thrust on students, it acquires a different meaning. For example, the Faculty of Social Science had pointed out to the VC that B.A. (Hons) courses need a framework. The B.A. (Hons) courses in the University had always shared a common framework of language and subsidiary/ concurrent (discipline and inter-disciplinary) subjects. Without those being specified by the AC/ EC through ordinances, no specific honours courses could be formulated by any one Department/ Faculty as each B.A courses relate to many departments across Faculties. Even the distribution of papers of the main subjects over the three years/ six semesters cannot have an academic basis without adoptionof such a framework. The VC first tried to hoodwink Departments to accept a framework of 24 papers divided in certain manner as proposed by a nominated committee and then took the position that the framework was only advisory in nature. It essentially shows that the AC & EC have not bothered to apply their mind to bring about a common framework necessary to effect semesterisation, let alone the wisdom behind or the unacademic manner in which the decision to semesterise was taken. The same problem confronts B.A. Programme. The structure had not been debated or decided either by the B.A. Programme Committee which alone could have advised the AC in the matter. In effect, such important academic decisions on the structure and framework of courses have been usurped by the administration.
The basis for passing such an order to all teachers is questionable precisely because the Court had not considered the relevant facts and arguments. Moreover, there was no urgency in the Court assuming the role of a facilitator in the hasty and chaotic implementation of the semester system. In fact, there is an urgency in staying such implementation since it would only benefit students if any restructuring that were to be done were done after due process and application of mind and serious harm will be done to them in framing courses in such haste.
The phrases used in the court order such as co-operate are in consonance with the submission made to the court by the Delhi University on 13.5.2011 wherein vide para 10, it had sought direction to “all the concerned parties (all departments and all colleges) to cooperate in all respects for effective implementation of all the Resolutions passed by the Academic Council and Executive Council, including the resolutions of 25.4.2011, for implementation of semester system in all undergraduate courses in the academic session commencing in July 2011.” If the order in fact is a relief given to the respondents though the petitioners’ prayers and submissions are pointing out the academic undesirability, the infirmities and the incomplete nature of these resolutions, then the order does not do justice to the petition. Without considering the petitioners submissions, granting to relief to the respondents precisely to facilitate actions which have been challenged does not appear to be judicious decision. The consequences of such an order harm the interest of the academic institution or students admitted to it.
It is urgent, therefore, to take steps to challenge the order/ seek review of the order/ seek stay on the implementation of the semester system in other courses.
We believe that last week you had a discussion with the UGC on the DUTA memorandum on service conditions submitted last year. We also request you to apprise the DUTA Executive of developments in this regard and initiate necessary steps for achieving the demands the DUTA has placed before the UGC/MHRD.