The 143rd Academic Council meeting of JNU took place in the context of the illegal and unilateral decisions taken by the VC on the issue of the admission policy (including intake), supposedly on the basis of the UGC Notification of 2016.
However, the house overwhelmingly (44 to 20) insisted that the minutes of the 142nd AC were incorrectly recorded, and that they must be corrected to reflect the actual discussions and decisions that were taken. 9 members moved specific amendments on the floor of the house besides many others who had conveyed their objections in writing before the meeting.
Specific corrections that were proposed were:
- That the 142nd AC did not approve any seat cuts for M.Phil/Ph.D admissions and in fact had approved intake figures that were about 83% higher.
- No revisiting of JNU’s progressive admission policy was approved by the 142nd AC
- The weightage of written exam to viva voce for M.Phil./PhD was approved at 80/20.
It took the AC members close to two hours to explain to the Vice-Chancellor that minutes have to be confirmed at the 143rd AC members present in the house, and that it was the duty to bring all objections/proposed amendments to the Minutes on record; if necessary through a vote. The vc, who seems to be entirely innocent as far as knowledge of such protocol goes, refused to call for a vote. Instead, he called for each member present express their opinion on whether the request by members for amendments should be considered, or whether the minutes should be treated as confirmed and the discussion move on to the next agenda. 44 members — the overwhelming majority of the house — spoke at length about the necessity of minutes being a faithful record of the actual discussion, that minutes can only be confirmed on the floor of the house, and how amendments must and indeed should be made and all objections registered. Twenty members expressed a desire to move to the next agenda.
After the last speaker had spoken the VC ruled that he would append only nine of the objections that he received in January 2017 to the minutes, clearly demonstrating both a perverse predilection to random culling, be it of seats for admissions or objections to falsified minutes, as well as scant regard for due process. Upon the House raising objections to this decision, he abruptly adjourned the meeting and left, without supplying a reason for such an amendment.
The JNUTA is amused, but also angered, to read reports in the media in which members of the VC’s team, such as Rector-I, have declared that the minutes of the 142nd meeting had been confirmed by the 143rd AC. The video recording done by the administration itself will of course tell the story – that the minutes of the 142nd part A meeting of the AC were not approved – but what can be more telling than the VC abruptly adjourning the meeting before getting to Agenda 2? The reason is simple: with the minutes not approved the fate of the next agenda items had become clear to him.
The VC and his team’s bluster in the face of the achievement that the unity of teacher and students has won cannot be maintained in a court of law, as the motion for amendment to the minutes moved by faculty members on the floor of the house cannot be brushed aside, nor can the objections sent in by Schools and Centres.
The JNUTA congratulates the indefatigable teachers of JNU for this spirited fightback in the face of such massive fraud and illegality. This strength of purpose comes not only from our sense of responsibility to the idea and ideals of what a public university should be, but also from our belief in the objects of the University as found in the First Schedule of the JNU act. We look forward to the reconvening of the 143rd AC meeting, because we are ready!