Central University Teachers May Now Be Dismissed For Speaking Against The Government, Says UGC Order
For the teachers working in central universities, voicing their opinions against the government and standing shoulder to shoulder with their students at the time of protests would now be a thing of the past. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has written to all central universities that the service rules that are applicable for the Union government employees will now also apply for the universities teachers and thus criticising the government will be a violation of service rule. This means that they can be dismissed for speaking against the Central government.
As per the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules a government employee is not allowed to express his/her opinion against the government. According to The Print, these Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules that are applicable for the government employees will now be applied to the University teachers as well. This means that the university teachers may face strict actions if they participate in an anti-government protest or even speak in any event that is critical of the government or write an academic paper against the government policies. The letter by the UGC to the Universities was sent in May this year. However, most universities have still not adopted the rules but are in the process of doing it. Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has recently adopted this rule amidst protest by a section of teachers.
Forced to abide by the rules
The order copy said that “adopt government of India/UGC rules for various administrative, financial, establishment and service matters till framing of relevant statutes, ordinances and regulations of the university”.
In the order copy, the UGC also said that all education institutions taking funds from the Central government would have to abide by the rules. The order also points out that the government can dismiss an employee if he/she violates the rules.
The order has specified the restrictions for the teachers in the central universities. As per the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), these restrictions include “not making joint representations in matters of common interest”, “not joining any association or demonstration whose objects or activities are prejudicial to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order and morality”, “not joining or supporting any illegal strike”, as reported by The Print.
JNU maimed in the line
JNU has been in news for many protests in their campus. In many of those protests, the universities professors have also participated, but now with the new rule, they will not be able to participate in any of the protestors. This comes as JNU in its latest academic council meeting has adopted the UGC rules. JNU passed the order amid the protests by some section of teachers.
While talking to The Hindu, Professor Madhavan Palat, who teaches in JNU said that this is a way to curtail democracy. He said that now the government will have an excuse to harass the people. “You can’t give a lecture, publish articles and books. You will have to see, for instance, whether an academic paper hampers relations with a foreign country. It may well be non-enforceable but can be used to harass people,” he said.
Other universities like Delhi University, Aligarh Muslim University, Banaras Hindu University and Hyderabad Central University have not adopted the rules as of now.