NEW DELHI: The process for the selection of the next Vice-Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has evoked sharp criticism from a few academics, including an applicant who has withdrawn from the race accusing the panel of favouring a few overlooking merit.
Kapil Kumar, chairperson of the faculty of history in the School of Social Sciences in the Indira Gandhi National Open University, opted out a few days before the candidates were shortlisted, slamming the selection process.
Talking to Express, he alleged that “academic merit does not count for the panel” and that there was a lack of transparency. He said some of the candidates shortlisted “do not deserve to be there in the first place”. Vice-Chancellor S K Sopory demits office in January 2016. Candidates shortlisted include Bilaspur University V-C Gauri Dutt Sharma, Indian Institute of Advance Studies, Shimla, Chairperson Chandrakala Padia and Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University V-C Rama Shankar Dubey.
Padia is considered close to the RSS and was made IIAS chairperson shortly after the NDA came to power last year. IIAS secretary Sunil Verma had quit following differences with her.The other selected candidate for the final round includes IIM-Ahmedabad professor Anil Gupta, and Yogesh Kumar Tyagi, who is the dean of the law faculty in the South Asian University here. Tyagi is a favourite among JNU professors.
The search-cum-selection panel is being chaired by Dhirendra Pal Singh, Director of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council and former V-C of Banaras Hindu University, and includes members such as former ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan and former diplomat Ashok Sen. While Singh is the nominee of the President, the other two have been appointed as per the recommendations of the JNU executive council. Kapil Kapoor, chairperson of the India Policy Foundation, an RSS-affiliated think tank, is the other member of the committee. He is the nominee of the HRD Ministry.
A senior JNU professor said on condition of anonymity that there were sharp differences in the committee over the shortlisting of candidates. While a few vouched for merit-based selection, others contended that merit alone didn’t make a person a good Vice-Chancellor.