The Delhi High Court has put on hold JNU’s resolution debarring two of its professors from participating in the university’s Executive Council (EC) meetings, saying on first impression, it appears to be contrary to the university’s statutes. Justice Vibhu Bakhru stayed the minutes of the EC’s 278th meeting to the extent that it debarred the professors from participating in future meetings of the academic body. The court also issued notice to the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), represented by central government’s standing counsel Monika Arora and advocate Harsh Ahuja, and sought its response within two weeks on a plea moved by the two professors challenging the university’s decision. “…this court is, prima facie, of the opinion that the resolution debarring them from participating in the meetings of the Executive Council is contrary to the statutes. “In view of the above, the impugned minutes, to the extent that it debars the petitioners from participating in future meetings of the EC of the JNU, is stayed,” the judge said and listed the matter for further hearing on August 7.
READ: NIRF ranking 2019: St Stephens, LSR among six Delhi University colleges in top 10; 22 more feature top 100
The court, however, made it clear that the university was not precluded from taking any other disciplinary proceedings, if required. The professors — one from the School of Social Sciences and the other the Dean of the School of Computer and Systems Sciences — have said in their plea that they were debarred from the EC meetings for participating in a protest outside the Administrative Block of JNU. They said the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) had organised the protest meeting on January 31 against the 13-point roster system and for handing over a memorandum to members of Parliament appealing for a bill to restore the 200-point roster system.
The university had asked them not to hold the meeting, saying it would violate Regulation M-7 of the Academic Rules and Regulation and a high court order prohibiting any protest outside the block. The petitioners, Sachidanand Sinha and Daya Krishan Lobiyal, have contended that the regulation and the high court order are applicable to the students of the university and not the teaching staff. According to their plea, the EC had, on February 15, “illegally” barred them and 17 other teachers, who were part of the protest, from participating in its future meetings and the meetings of the Academic Council of the university. The petition has contended that the minutes and decisions of the university “ought to be set aside and quashed as the same are illegal, arbitrary, unreasonable, excessive, violate the principles of natural justice and infringe the petitioners’ rights under the Constitution of India”.