Delhi University is emerging from the darkest phase in its history. The rollback of the disastrous FYUP rekindled hopes that this university will survive and the academic dignity and confidence of its teachers will be restored.
At every step of this long-drawn struggle, teachers have been threatened and browbeaten with the aim of throttling their independence. Along with everyday harassment through memos and show-cause notices, salary-cuts, camera surveillance and open threats, teachers face a brazen attack on job-prospects, promotions and pensions. Repeated moves by the VC to sabotage the democratic functioning of statutory bodies through a ‘carrot and stick’ policy have yielded perverse decisions against the collective interests of teachers, students and karamcharis. He has destroyed the credibility of the selection process by manipulating selection committees and the Reservation roster after having held up appointments for many years. He has irrationally imposed API scores in promotions from 2008. He has launched an all-out assault on pensions. On all these issues, his unholy nexus with the unscrupulous UGC Chairman has helped him to carry out his malafide designs. His despotic regime, his financial misdeeds, repeated violation of Ordinances and Regulations, his feudal behaviour, elephant rides, darbars and vindictive actions against all sections of the university community have made his presence incommensurable with the dignity of his office. His removal is a precondition for positive change.
हज़ारों कर रहे नौकरियों का इंतज़ार
आरक्षण नीति हो रही तार-तार
प्रमोशन से खिलवाड़
पेंशन पर वार
कौन है इनका ज़िम्मेदार ?
As per reports in the media, the MHRD has sent the DUTA White Paper and the Satyam Committee Report on diversion of over 100 crores from the OBC-expansion Grant to the Visitor. The White Paper which indicts the VC became possible because of the incessant and uncompromising critiques made by the elected representatives of teachers in the AC & EC, belonging to the DTF and a few others. A series of representations made by Abha Dev Habib to the Visitor have sustained the pressure on him and the Government. In Sept 2014, the MHRD had asked the DU administration to reply to the charges made in the White Paper. Now the MHRD has asked the Visitor to seek explanation from the VC on some crucial issues. The VC is, of course, making desperate and shameless efforts to cling on to office.
He is being aided by those who betrayed the DUTA GB Resolution and supported the FYUP publicly on news channels till the very end. Even as the DUTA and independent organisations continue to be refused space to hold meetings, the AAD held a new year celebration in the University Guest House with the VC as Chief Guest! The AAD EC candidate is seeking a second term after betraying teachers’ trust by supporting the VC on FYUP and his draconian anti-teacher measures.
The VC has now set up another Task Force to implement a Choice-based Credit Transfer System. If implemented, this system will make around 40% of the workload unstable and institu-tionalise adhocism and short-term contract-teaching. The NDTF EC candidate has been made a member of this Task Force.
The DU administration’s hope of manipulating the AC and EC Elections is further proved by the initial attempt to leave out large numbers of ad hoc teachers’ names from the electoral rolls. This was rectified only after the DUTA President’s intervention.
Selective Appointments | Faulty Roster
The freeze on permanent appointments in colleges in 2010 was a deliberate design to weaken the teachers’ movement and promote contractualisation. Semesteri-sation and then the FYUP resulted in variable workload, thus making vacancies uncertain. Since mid-2013, appointments started but have been limited to a few subjects and colleges. They have been marred by the faulty Reservation roster in operation in DU, the irrational screening criteria for interviews, which exclude many ad hoc teachers, and the overwhelming powers assumed by the VC in the composition of selection committees. Lack of transparency and the failure to rotate subject experts nominated on selection committees has led to allegations of rigging and loss of credibility of the selection process.
The brazen flouting of DoPT/UGC norms for implementing the Reservation roster is deliberate. It violates the Constitutional entitlements to Reservation and simultaneously allows easy manipulation by authorities to arbitrarily do away with or introduce posts at different roster points.
The University is approving rosters submitted by colleges that are bypassing their workload committees/Staff Councils and Liaison Oficers. Some of these rosters have left out many permanent sanctioned posts and increased or decreased department strength at will. The number of reserved vacancies for SC/ST/OBC is short of the mandated 15%, 7.5% and 27%, and the PWD posts are not earmarked as mandated by the Sambhavna Judgment.
The petition by the Delhi University SC, ST, OBC Teachers’ Association challenging the faulty roster is in the High Court. There is no stay on appointments and the matter has been listed for 9.4.2015. However, those appointed as permanent teachers will face uncertainty till the case concludes. Instead of rectifying the illegalities and ensuring an unclouded selection process, the VC continues to implement the faulty roster.
After innumerable representations, action programmes and meetings with MPs of various political parties by the DUTA, the stand taken by DU in the Court asserting its right to implement the Roster as it pleases has finally come under the scanner of the MHRD. This is one of the key issues on which the MHRD has reportedly asked the President to seek explanation from the VC.
Assault on Promotions
Following the rollback of FYUP, the VC in connivance with the UGC Chairperson made CAS 2010 retrospectively effective from 2008, though DU had barely a year before fixed the cut-off date as 17.8.2013. A copy of an old notice was uploaded on the UGC website with changed date and the signature of an official who had already retired. This was used by the VC to force retrospective implementation from 31.12.2008.
On the DUTA’s intervention, the UGC issued a clarification on 18.11.2014 that the promotion scheme applicable for a teacher is the one in operation on the date of eligibility. Abha Dev Habib argued for this, but the VC refused to take cognisance of it and was openly supported by the AAD EC member Aditya Narain Mishra. The DTF will fight for restoration of the earlier cut-off date of 17.8.2013.
Assault on Pension
Instead of implementing the favourable decision of the High Court on the CPF/GPF issue, the VC got the EC to agree to challenge the relief granted to a section of teachers and to stop pension payments of all those who were allowed to opt for GPF after September 1987 by the University. He also got the EC to agree to serve three months notice for stoppage of pension to such teachers who had already retired. While the last decision has not been acted on, almost all teachers who are retiring now are being denied pension.
The solution to this anti-teacher, anti-employee decision is the withdrawal of the case filed by DU, the implementation of the relief granted by the High Court and the release of pensions to those who chose GPF in response to one of the options offered by DU. The benefit of pension must also be extended to the few remaining teachers not covered by either of these. The DUTA has represented to the UGC, MHRD and Visitor on all these aspects. The DTF is also committed to fighting, through coordinated struggles with other unions, for the restoration of Assured Pension for all who have been appointed after 1.1.2004.
Exploitation of Ad hoc teachers
The EC guidelines of 2007, which stipulate that vacancies of more than four months should be filled on Temporary basis, is being flouted. This is then used by principals to deny vacation salaries. Ad hoc teachers are deprived of basic facilities including medical leave, maternity leave, annual and M.Phil./Ph.D. increments etc.
Choice Based Credit System: disastrous implications
The Vice-Chancellor’s blind assent to the Govt.’s diktat on the implementation of the Choice-based Credit System (CBCS) has brought the University to the brink of yet another academic crisis. The CBCS Guidelines issued by the UGC dishonestly claim that the semester-system is working well in all universities, including DU, thus ignoring the need to have the impact of semesterisation reviewed. Meanwhile the pattern of imposing FYUP in DU is being repeated by constituting an unapproved Task Force to ensure compliance. The preponderance of choice-based courses and student-faculty mobility across universities will make workload more unstable and promote further adhocism in teaching appointments. There is genuine apprehension that faculty transfers may get linked to career advancement. The structure of Foundation Courses, Core Courses and Electives replicate the FYUP minus the fourth year. Yet again, the University is moving ahead without any commitment to additional infrastructure and stable faculty. This short-sighted move will only strengthen the renewed assault of private business on the education system, leading to further commercialisation and decline in the quality of education and the service conditions of teachers.
Take the struggle forward to restore dialogue and resolve issues
Code of Conduct: Unable to stem the tide of growing criticism against his authoritarianism, the Vice-Chancellor got the EC to pass unacceptable amendments to Ordinances XI and XII in the EC Meeting of March 2014. These amendments give him overarching powers to take disciplinary action against teachers for any perceived failure to comply with the UGC’s Code of Professional Ethics. While several clauses of the Code are extremely subjective and open to biased interpretation, to make it actionable against a teacher is tantamount to muzzling democratic criticism and protest. By doing so, the Vice-Chancellor has threatened the idea of a University as a space for free and fearless exchange of ideas and liberal tolerance of dissident opinion.
Abrogation of Ordinance XV-D on Sexual Harassment through the Registrar’s Notification (9.1.2014) has done away with the comprehensive mechanism that DU had devised to deal with cases of sexual harassment. No effort was made to discuss the compatibility between the new law passed in 2013 and Ordinance XV-D. A summary abrogation of the Ordinance not only indicates the VC’s disdain for collective wisdom of the University community but also clears the deck for official manipulation of cases of sexual harassment.
Undue Extension of Retirement Age for Puppet Officials: Undue favour in violation of UGC Regulations was shown to the PVC and Dean of Colleges and other top officials by extending their retirement up to the age of 70. Such illegal amendments cannot be allowed to sustain.
Usurpation of the EC’s power to monitor and approve appointments process: On 21.1.2014, the EC by majority granted an all-time authorisation to the VC to approve appointments of Faculty and Group A officers. This decision violates Statutes 6 and 19 which clarify that the EC’s powers to monitor and approve appointments cannot be delegated.
Librarians clubbed with Non-teaching Staff: In the EC meeting of 17.8.2013 the University Non-teaching Employees (Terms and Conditions of Service) Rules 2013 were adopted; the Annexure included Deputy Librarian, Assistant Librarian, Documentation Officer and College Librarian as non-teaching cadres. Abha Dev Habib represented against this disturbing of parity between teachers and librarians and asked for its review in the EC.
Second tranche of teaching posts withheld: DU has deliberately maintained silence on issues like section strength etc. and forced colleges to work with fewer teachers. After introduction of OBC reservations, the UGC sanctioned additional teaching posts for each college and released funds for salaries to the University. Only half the posts have been released to the colleges. Since the current VC took over DU stopped release of further posts though it continued to receive funds for these posts.
Stepping up: Despite the clarification from the DoPT on 4.10.2012 and implementation of the rule in case of non-teaching employees, the cases of teachers are not being addressed.
Stagnation Increment: Teachers stagnating at the top of the scale who had been denied one increment during pay fixation have now been granted the increment by the Finance Ministry vide its notification of 4.7.2014. This communication was finally reported in the EC on 9.1.2015 after the DUTA repeatedly took up the issue of its non-implementation with the MHRD, UGC and VC.
Teachers’ Welfare Fund: During the current VC’s tenure, the Teachers’ Welfare Fund (comprising entirely of teachers’ contributions and set up to help ailing and needy teachers) has remained inaccessible. The Reistrar was arbitrarily put in charge of the fund. Not a single application has been processed in the last four years.
UCMS: Handover of UCMS to Delhi Govt. was agreed to unilaterally by the VC, without bringing the Delhi Govt.’s proposal to the EC. Misgovernance and denial of promotions under the Dynamic Assured Career Progression from 31.12.2008 has deeply alienated the UCMS teachers.
Medical facilities: There has been an increasing erosion of healthcare facilities. Many hospitals have been pulling out of the Cashless Scheme while amenities provided by the WUS Health Centre are far from satisfactory. The steep subscription for membership of the Health Centre is unwarranted; while the Centre itself is severely understaffed, the pharmacy has inadequate stock and fails to cater to the demand for medicines. The Advisory Committee which included the DUTA and DUCKU Presidents and EC teacher representatives as members, has been discontinued.
Department teachers face harassment directly from the administration in regard to release of research project grants, sanction of leave, etc. Increasing disillusionment is causing teachers to move to other institutions.
Self-Financing Courses: Regularisation of Self-Financing Courses, including Computer Science, Journalism and BBE, must be pursued.
CCL and Study Leave: Clubbing Child-care Leave and Study Leave with other forms of leave has had a chaotic and divisive impact. Both leaves are important entitlements; neither should be subjected to a 10% cap.
दमन और नाइंसाफ़ी का मुँहतोड़ जवाब दो!
No issue is being resolved in the regime of the current Vice-Chancellor. Instead, they are piling up as he seeks to take revenge for the rollback of his pet project. Teachers and students have won a historic victory with the rollback of the FYUP. We must carry the struggle forward for the removal of the VC and the restoration of dialogue. This will be the basis for the resolution of issues imposed by him on teachers and those on which he has refused to respond. The MHRD has acted on the DUTA White Paper, but has taken a long time in doing so. Action against the Vice-Chancellor will not be taken unless we sustain and intensify our pressure on the Government for his removal.
The new Government has also made clear that it is bent on carrying forward the “reforms” agenda of its discredited predecessor in all fields, including in education. Divisive forces have once again reared their heads, seeking to disrupt the common struggles against these assaults. They also threaten to replace scientific values with obscurantist views and prejudices.
We must be vigilant against such forces and strengthen our unity and our common struggles with students and karamcharis. We must intensify our struggle for the rollback of the semester system and confront the move to introduce the Choice-based Credit System with effective arguments and determination.
Let the forthcoming elections send a clear signal to the Government that teachers will not allow the destruction of this University. The DTF panel of dedicated and experienced activists is committed to this struggle. We appeal to teachers to give the entire panel a resounding victory.
संघर्ष करेंगे, जीतेंगेे!
Polling on 5 February (Thursday), 10.30 am to 4.30 pm
Abha Dev Habib
Dept of Physics, Miranda House
to the EC
Dept. of Computer Science,
Dept. of English,
Dept. of Hindi,
Dept. of Germanic & Romance Studies,