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JNU Wardens Cry Foul Over Termination, Move Delhi HC Against V-C

six wardens have filed a petition which says thatthe JNU VC has been responsible for displacing 50 out of 69 wardens over the last two years.

Eram Agha | EramAgha

Updated:April 19, 2018, 9:10 AM IST
JNU Wardens Cry Foul Over Termination, Move Delhi HC Against V-C
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi.

New Delhi: Six hostel wardens of Jawaharlal Nehru University moved Delhi High Court on Wednesday against their termination by the university administration over the last few months.

Since the university refused to respond to multiple appeals, individual as well as collective, made by the wardens to the JNU Vice Chancellor and other relevant authorities, the wardens moved High Court, which has allowed the writ petition and has directed the University to consider a fresh representation to be made by the petitioners, and pass a speaking order.

The petition has been filed against the JNU VC Professor M Jagadesh Kumar and Deepak Arya, Assistant Registrar.

The issue first came to light when the VC unilaterally decided to remove a large number of wardens from their posts and replace them with the new faculty appointees made during his term.

The JNU Ordinance governing the appointment of wardens stated that even as the term of a warden ‘in the first instance’ is for two years, ‘the term would be renewable on the recommendation of the Provost to the Dean of Students’.

The termination of wardens can only be done on the basis of non-performance, as recommended by the Provost of the area under which the said hostel falls.

The petitioners have found, through an RTI filed by a faculty member that as of April 17, 2018, no such recommendations against the wardens had been made. The petitioners are challenging the VC’s allegedly biased move in arbitrarily removing the wardens.

Quite apart from the procedural lapses committed by the JNU administration, there are certain other points the petitioners raised.

“Except for the first Vice Chancellor of the University, who must have appointed the first set of wardens, never before in the history of this university have 50 out of 69 wardens been replaced under a single VC’s term,” said a joint statement by the six petitioners.

The terms of the remaining 19 wardens, who had all served for 14-16 years, were renewed without any explanation or reason given for the partial treatment.

The post of the warden comes with housing and through such a sweeping move of replacing 50 out of 69 wardens over the last two years, the VC is alleged to have exercised absolute control in the allocation of 67 out of the 69 houses, far exceeding the special quota that the VC anyway has in house allotment. The remaining two warden portfolios do not come with housing.

"What is alarming in this case is that the homes of all the displaced wardens and their families are being taken away. None of the six petitioners are being given equivalent housing facility," said the statement by the wardens.

The termination is likely to cause disturbances in the personal lives of the wardens and their families, who have been settled on campus for some time now and are part of a community of residents and friends. The shift is also likely to affect the education of the wardens’ children.

In their interaction with the VC, the petitioners were told that their terms were not renewed because, in principle, “new blood is good for the system”.

"It is evident in the manner of renewal that there are wardens whose appointments have been renewed for full term even though they have served as wardens for about 16 years. In stark contrast to this, wardens with only two terms have also been not renewed for full term," read the petition.

The petitioners include Mallarika Sinha Roy of Ganga Hostel, Dr Angomcha Bimol Akoijam, Narmada Hostel, JNU, Prof. Sujoy Chakravarty, Kaveri Hostel, Dr. Himanshu, Jhelum Hostel Dr. Rohit Azad, Lohit Hostel, JNU, and Dr. Rajarshi Dasgupta Lohit Hostel, JNU.

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