The decision of the Mumbai University vice-chancellor to suspend economics professor Neeraj Hatekar for allegedly providing false information to the media has opened a can of worms.
On Monday, members of his department criticized the suspension as a draconian decision that disrupts the academic programme and expressed their support for the professor for showing courage for the good of the university.
“We are disturbed that the standard steps have not been taken, the director was not consulted, a memo was not issued, a show-cause notice wasn’t given.
It being an autonomous department, the issue should have been put forward before the department’s management and academic board,” the members of the economics department stated in a resolution adopted at an emergency meeting.
The resolution, which has been submitted to the vice-chancellor, Rajan Welukar, said, “All his (Hatekar’s) appeals to the authorities have fallen on deaf years. A press conference called by him was another opportunity guaranteed to him under the Constitution of India to express concern about the deteriorating situation in the university.”
The econometrics professor was suspended last week after he raised awkward questions for the university at a press conference earlier this month, over the decline in educational standards and various instances of irregularities. The university, which has consistently stayed silent on these issues when they were reported by the media in the past three and a half years, denied the charges levelled by Hatekar.
A member of the management council which approved Hatekar’s suspension said, “The vice-chancellor put forth a proposal in the council for suspension, saying that Hatekar brought disrepute to the university. As members don’t dare to open their mouths fearing victimization no one opposed it.”