Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University wanted to award an honorary doctorate to its star alumnus, actor Shah Rukh Khan, for his extraordinary contribution to Indian cinema and culture but government has denied the central university’s request.
According to a report in Indian Express, the Human Resource Development Ministry told Jamia in a written reply dated April 11, 2018, that since Khan had already received a similar degree from the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) in December 2016, offering him a second honorary doctorate would “not be in order”.
Interestingly, there is no official ban on this practice as several noted Indians, including scientists CNR Rao and MS Swaminathan, have been previously awarded multiple honorary degrees from central universities.
Claiming that “since 2014, there has not been any instance where the same person has been awarded honorary doctorate in more than one central university,” Higher Education Secretary R Subrahmanyam told Indian Express, “Whenever there is a recommendation of the Executive Committee seeking approval for awarding an honorary doctorate, we check whether the same person has been awarded the same honour by another central university; and whether there is any conflict of interest.”
“In case of Shah Rukh Khan, his exceptional services in the field of acting have already been recognised by another central university MANUU, Hyderabad by conferring the honorary doctorate with the approval of Hon President of India and MHRD,” he added.
Notably, Khan was a post-graduate student at Jamia’s AJK Mass Communication Research Centre from 1988-90. He was however barred from taking his final year exams due to poor attendance.
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