COIMBATORE: In the wake of a PhD scholar levelling sexual harassment charges against the head of English department at the Bharathiar University recently, another research scholar on Monday accused an Assistant Professor of the department of demanding bribe to be an observer for her viva voce examination.
In a petition submitted to Collector Archana Patnaik, Elsamma Sebastian of Palakkad said she had registered for an external PhD in English at the university in 2009 under the guidance of Vijay Nair, Associate Professor of the Government Victoria College in Palakkad. “My PhD viva voce examination was scheduled for 2.30 p.m., on Feb 27, 2015. Only on that day did I come to know that an assistant professor of the English department had been appointed as observer for the viva voce and neither my guide nor I were officially informed,” she said.
“When I invited the assistant professor for my viva, he refused saying he had another viva at the same time. Further, he demanded money for standing as observer and said he had to give a share of it to university officials. Since the professor was reluctant to attend my viva, the Dean, Faculty of Arts, was appointed as observer and my viva voce examination went well. Subsequently, when I went to the university to apply for the provisional certificate, the assistant professor contacted me over phone and said I must re-appear for the viva voce exam. When I enquired with an university official, he said he could not help and refused to issue the certificate,” Elsamma said in the petition.
Further, she questioned as to why did the university appoint a single person as observer for two viva voce examinations which were to be held at the same time, and why did not the university inform the appointment of observer either to the guide or to the candidate as is it the duty of the external examiner or guide to conduct the viva in the scheduled time and at the approved venue.
When contacted, the assistant professor refuted the allegations saying the complaint was illogical and does not make sense. Meanwhile, the head of English department said,“The viva voce was conducted by the Linguistics department and awarding PhD to the candidate will set a bad precedence. The UGC will not accept such a PhD degree. That is the reason why we asked her to re-appear for the viva voce.”