After six years of legal battle since he was given compulsory retirement by IIT Kharagpur on charges of misconduct, whistle-blower Professor Rajeev Kumar has finally got a posting at Jawaharlal Nehru University. JNU in an order “requested” Kumar to “immediately” resume his duties at the School of Computer and Systems Sciences. IIT Kharagpur had in May 2011 suspended Kumar on charges of misconduct. He was accused of damaging its reputation by levelling allegations of irregularities in admissions, purchase of laptops and rampant copying by students in exams. Kumar was hailed as an “unsung hero” by the Supreme Court the same year for his efforts to reform the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), which has since been re-christened as JEE Advanced.The penalty of compulsory retirement, imposed on Kumar by the authorities at IIT Kharagpur, was recently set aside by Pranab Mukherjee days before he demitted office as president.
After IIT Kharagpur relieved him of his duties, Kumar joined JNU in June 2015 through an order which granted him a lien for two years — from June 12, 2015 to June 11, 2017. The order had said he would be deemed to have resigned from IIT Kharagpur if he did not join it back at the expiry of the lien. Lien represents the right of a government employee to hold a regular post, whether permanent or temporary, either immediately or on the termination of the period of absence.When the JNU administration decided to confirm him as professor in May last year, he was asked to submit a copy of lien termination or resignation from IIT Kharagpur.Kumar then submitted his resignation and lien termination request to the IIT, which did not accept it, saying a petition filed in the Delhi High Court by him “has not yet reached its logical conclusion”. It, however, accepted his resignation on August 14, 2017 following a Delhi High Court order in this regard.Kumar had moved the High Court and obtained a stay on the IIT’s decision to impose the penalty of compulsory retirement on him.
The court had on August 16 clarified that in view of IIT Kharagpur accepting Kumar’s technical resignation, JNU was not required to release him on account of the request made by the technical institute.”I wish to express my gratitude to uncountable individuals and groups worldwide who stood with me in this movement, which started in 2006. I pray to Almighty to strengthen academic fraternity for understanding the word, ‘autonomy’,” Prof Kumar said.