Delhi: Jamia Millia Islamia university suspends professor over teachers’ association election


Delhi: Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) on Thursday suspended a professor for “unlawfully” taking up an assignment to conduct the teachers’ association election without taking permission from the competent authority. The university has also declared the notification issued by Sonya Surabhi Gupta of Centre for Spanish and Latin American Studies at JMI regarding the conduct of election, as “null and void” and dissolved the present teachers’ association with immediate effect. However, Gupta has rejected all the allegations levelled against her, saying that she has not done anything unlawful.

A university official said that Gupta was appointed as returning officer by Jamia Teachers Association (JTA) office bearers whose tenure concluded in May this year. She issued a list of the candidates for the elections, the official informed. However, the university contended that her appointment is “unlawful” as she had not taken permission from the competent authority.

In a memo issued by Registrar Nazim Husain Al-Jafri on Thursday, the university said it informed Gupta that her appointment as returning officer is unlawful as the constitution of JTA has not been approved by the competent body. “The act of Prof Sonya Surabhi Gupta is against the clause of Service Agreement UGC Regulation 2018 and JMI Act Statutes and Ordinances which construed grievous misconduct on her part,” the memo accessed by PTI read. 

“In view of the above, the Vice Chancellor by exercising the power vested in her hereby places Prof Sonya Surabhi Gupta, Centre for Spanish and Latin American Studies JMI, under suspension with immediate effect pending an inquiry. During the suspension period, she will not be allowed to leave the headquarters without permission of the competent authority,” the memo added. 

Gupta, however, rejected all the allegations. “I have not done anything illegal and whatever actions I have taken it was done as part of JTA member and as per JTA constitution,” Gupta told PTI over phone. In another notification on Thursday, the registrar said that the vice chancellor, JMI, on the recommendation of the deans of faculties has approved to declare the notification by Prof Gupta to conduct the election of the JTA as “null and void”. “The present teachers’ association is hereby dissolved with immediate effect because their term came to an end on 15.5.2022,” the notification said.

Early this month, the university’s competent authority issued a letter to Gupta seeking her clarification as to why disciplinary action may not be taken against her for her “unlawful act of taking up an assignment to conduct the election of JTA without permission of the competent authority”. On November 10, Gupta submitted her reply stating that even in the previous elections, the returning officer has never sought prior approval from Jamia administration.

The same day, the university informed Gupta that her plea that “even in the previous elections, the returning officer has never sought prior approval from Jamia administration” is not sustainable because of “some illegal act has happened in the past”. “It was her responsibility before accepting any assignment other than the responsibility for which she has been appointed by the university to inquire from the competent authority about its legality. 

In this view of the matter, she was directed to step down from such responsibility at her end failing which disciplinary action will be initiated against her,” the university wrote to Gupta. On Monday, the competent authority sent a letter to Gupta informing her that the appointment as returning officer is unlawful also on the ground that the constitution of JTA has not been approved by the competent body.





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