Chandigarh : Setting aside all canons of law and brushing under the carpet all rules, regulations and ethics, the present Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University Professor Arun Grover has succeeded to get his wife Dr Neera Grover appointed as Professor in the Department of Music in this University. PU Syndicate had resolved in its meetings of September 8 and October 6, 2012 to appoint her Professor for a period of one year under Regulation 5(a)(i), Page 111 of PU Calendar I, 2007. Though the appointment letter had already been issued to her, the item is to be placed before the Senate in its meeting scheduled for December 22, 2012.
RTI Activist Dr Rajinder K Singla has today complained to Dr Mohd Hamid Ansari, Vice-President of India and Chancellor, PU, bringing to his notice all the acts of commission and omission on the part of University Authorities undertaken to oblige the present Vice-Chancellor by fabricating unwarranted emergency in the matter of appointment of his wife. Dr Singla disclosed that to cope with excessive teaching workload, PU appoints Assistant Professors as Guest Faculty on lecture-basis and not teachers in the Professor’s Pay Scale under the garb of “Emergency Appointments”. Moreover, over half the academic session has lapsed but the department of Music is doing well without her arrival. Where has that emergency disappeared if it really existed in the Month of July this year? Why PU preferred to appoint Dr Neera Grover and keep waiting till she joins instead of appointing someone else who could be available to cope with the exigencies, if there were any. An application under RTI will be filed by Dr Singla on Monday to dig out more documents to prove how the applicants for regular vacancy are being deprived of their right to employment by such strategies of the University.
Sources reveal that immediately after the announcement of Prof. Arun Grover’s name as Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University on June 29, 2012, PU offices had come into motion and this misdemeanour commenced with the conduct of a meeting of the Academic and Administrative Committee of the Department of Music held on July 5, 2012. The Committee, which had expressed dire necessity of the faculty as well as difficulty in managing the session 2011-12, had unanimously recommended emergent appointment of Dr Neera Grover as Professor in Music (Vocal) against the vacant post of K.L. Sehgal Professor of Music. Corroborating the shortage of staff with a chart showing 82 vacant periods, Chairperson of the department of Music, Prof. Arvind Kumar Sharma, had immediately written to the then VC Prof. R.C. Sobti for her appointment before the commencement of the new session, 2012-13.
Regulations under Section 31(1) and (2)(e) of the Panjab University Act, 1947 in accordance with which this appointment has been made authorize the Vice-Chancellor to make an emergent temporary appointment for a period not exceeding one year and the approval of the Syndicate is required where the period of such an appointment exceeds one year. Accordingly, this case was not required to be presented before the Syndicate and Prof Sobti was competent enough to make this appointment for a period of one year. He, however, preferred to abstain from participating in the whole affair and referred the case to the Syndicate instead of exercising power vested in him as the candidate recommended was no one else but the wife of his successor Vice-Chancellor.
In her biodata, Dr Neera Grover has claimed 20 years experience of teaching at BA and MA levels at three Indian Universities, whereas the chronology of her employment reveals that she has taught at only one University namely S.N.D.T. Women’s University, Mumbai, besides teaching in two colleges.
It is learnt that the University has advertised vacancies of teaching positions in its Department of Music inviting applications from the aspirants many a time, but did not make any open selection based on merit. Reasons are not difficult to understand as to why the University Authorities/Management have chosen to make “emergency temporary appointment” dispensing with the regular appointment and depriving the meritorious candidates of the country “once again” of their right to employment in this world-renowned University. There is every likelihood that she will be given extension after extension to enable her to have an edge over the other applicants as and when the vacancy of a Professor is filled through direct recruitment.
Another glaring irregularity that surfaced from the documents unveils the truth that Dr Neera Grover belongs to ‘Vocal Music’ whereas the prevailing situations demanded appointment of a person of ‘Instrumental Music’. Justifications given in the Academic and Administrative Committee Meeting held on July 5, 2012 disclose that of the two guest faculty teachers appointed for session 2011-12, the one in Music (Vocal) Prof. Chaman Lal Verma had joined the University on January 10, 2012 whereas the other in Music (Instrumental) Prof. Ravinder Adeshra did not join, which resulted in a great difficulty to manage the session. How the void created in Music (Instrumental) could be filled with by appointing a candidate of Music (Vocal), i.e. Dr Neera Grover, and that too in her absence for over half of the academic session 2012-13 ?