The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the governmment and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on a PIL accusing one of its assistant professors of plagiarism. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the assistant professor, who teaches Turkish language at the varsity, and sought his stand regarding the charges against him in the plea, which has also sought quashing of his appointment. The matter has been listed for hearing on September 21. During arguments, the bench asked the varsity how the assistant professor was appointed when he had scored only 33 out of 100 in the viva-voce (oral exam) conducted by the Jamia Millia Islamia University where he had pursued a Diploma in Turkish Language. “He scored only 33 out of 100 in the viva and he is a professor. How,” the court asked.
JNU said that he had scored over 70 marks out of 100 in his written exams. However, the petitioners, a Turkish language student of Jamia and a law student, contended that he had failed the course as he had scored only 33 out of 100 in the an oral exam conducted by Jamia. The petitioners have also alleged that the assistant professor had “plagiarised a literature work in Turkish language and published the same in 2012 with a title as ‘A new approach to Turkish language learning'”. They have claimed that the entire material of the book has been “copied verbatim” from an online Turkish language class without giving a single reference to the online source. The petition has alleged that while working with JNU and drawing a salary from there, he had pursued a Masters degree in Turkish language from Ataturk University in Turkey.
When the bench questioned JNU about this, it said that he was working as a guest faculty and only getting an honorarium. Apart from seeking quashing of his appointment, the petition also seeks setting up of a high-level fact-finding committee for fixing the responsibilities of the intellectual plagiarism committed by him. It has also sought a direction to the University Grants Commission to “constitute a high-powered committee as a permanent mechanism to effectively prevent the serious issue of the plagiarism in academic circle and universities”.