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‘Hatekar’s suspension legal, decision taken by mgmt panel’ | The Indian Express

Related. Even as suspended Mumbai University Professor Neeraj Hatekar has claimed that his suspension was illegal and that, as per regulations prescribed under the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994, the power of suspending a teacher is given only to the management council (MC), university pro-vice-chancellor Naresh Chandra told Newsline that a unanimous decision was passed by the MC on December 20 to take strict action against the professor, and action was taken as per the Act. Hatekar had called a press conference on December 12 in his capacity as convener of the ‘Joint Action Committee for the Improvement of Higher Education in Maharashtra’, in which he had pointed out 16 issues plaguing the university, and demanded an immediate solution for improving the educational standards of the Mumbai University. He was suspended on January 4. Hatekar has maintained that a resolution must be passed by the MC for suspending a teacher and as no such resolution was passed, the action of the vice-chancellor to suspend him was not legal. “His suspension was decided upon only after a meeting of the management council on December 20. The members asked the officers to tell the truth in the allegations made by Hatekar and that if anybody is found guilty, then the university should take action against that person. After getting an explanation from university officers, they took a serious view of the matter and a unanimous resolution was passed by the management council. They said the people who have tarnished the university’s image should be dealt with strictly. Except for one member, all recommended a suspension,” said Rajpal Hande, Director, Board of College and University Development (BCUD), Mumbai University. “Suspension is not a punishment, it implies that necessary procedures will be followed as mentioned in the Act and inquiry will be conducted. Subsequently, we will decide on the further course of action. The allegation by him (Hatekar) that university authorities are trying to settle personal scores with him are baseless,” said Chandra. “If he had any grievances, he should have approached the university authorities first and discussed them before going to the media. His allegations that he had approached and written to varsity authorities, but they were overlooked, are not true. The university has a document-journey-management-system in place, but as per the records, he had not sent a letter highlighting these allegations,” said Chandra. Refuting one of Hatekar’s allegations that since 2011, the salaries of university teachers are being paid “by dipping into the university’s corpus funds instead of obtaining the salaries from the state government”, officials said no such corpus exists. “The teachers’ salary since 2011 is coming from the government and we have the accounts. His second allegation that the university had lied in the NAAC report when it said it conducts bridge courses and remedial teaching, is baseless. He was part of the committee that had helped and prepared the NAAC report,” said university registrar M A Khan. Varsity faculty opposes suspension. Stating that they are shocked by the action taken by the varsity administration against Professor Neeraj Hatekar, 48 faculty members from various departments have written to the vice-chancellor, urging authorities to withdraw the suspension order. “Prof Hatekar, apart from being an excellent classroom teacher, is known for his honesty, his efforts for the betterment of quality in higher education and subject competence. We express our solidarity with him,” says the letter dated January 6.
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