New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor Kavita Singh, who was awarded the prestigious Infosys Prize 2018 on Saturday, stirred up a controversy with her statement that things at the university are now "comically bad" after her leave application to attend the award ceremony was rejected by the university administration.
Responding to her allegations, the JNU administration has said that things have “changed a bit now” and it is well within the rights of the varsity to reject the duty and study leaves of the professors.
One of the JNU rectors told News 18 that the varsity will soon issue an official statement on the controversy. “Earlier, Jawaharlal Nehru University was not enforcing attendance rules. But things have changed a bit now. We have a leave and attendance rule based on the University Grants Commission. Teachers have to spend five hours in the classrooms. While casual and medical leaves are not rejected, duty and study leaves can be. As per the government of India rules, duty leave is not your right, it is a privilege,” the rector said on the condition of anonymity.
The JNU official added, “If the academic wanted the leave, she could have informed earlier. In cases like these due process is followed.”
The art historian was awarded the prize for her “extraordinary illuminating study of Mughal, Rajput and Deccan Art”. As per some media reports, Singh applied for leave on January 2 but the administration did not respond. It was only after she landed in Bangalore that she realised her leave had been rejected. She collect the prize regardless.
The JNU administration has been denying duty leaves to academics to enforce the mandatory attendance rule. Singh, however, said that this time she had applied for casual leave.
Singh was one of the six people who were removed from their official administrative positions in November for raising their voice against the mandatory attendance rule for students. She is the Dean of Arts and Aesthetics at the university.