Former Manipur University guest lecturer seeks PM’s intervention in his removal
A former guest lecturer of the Delhi University’s Hindu College has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in his “arbitrary removal” as the guest faculty of Manipur University (MU) allegedly because of his political ideology.
The MU had on August 6 terminated the service of Ningombam Bupenda Meitei as the guest lecturer in the Department of Philosophy much before his six-month agreement was to end. The university had appointed him on June 26.
The Federation of Central Universities’ Teachers’ Associations had condemned the “arbitrary termination” of Mr. Meitei’s service who “was asked to clarify whether he was a member of a political party throwing all academic freedoms to the wind”.
In a letter to the Prime Minister submitted online, Mr. Meitei said that he was disgracefully and arbitrarily removed as a guest faculty despite having been recommended for appointment by the MU’s selection committee.
He said that the MU Vice-Chancellor or administrator had stated only three conditions while making the offer — his term as guest faculty would be for six months, he would be given an honorarium of ₹1,500 per lecture subject to a maximum of ₹ 50,000, and he should not claim regular appointment.
“My nature of engagement with the university was not non-academic,” Mr. Meitei said, outlining a few ordinances related to the appointment of the MU’s academic staff that made it clear he was neither an employee nor were the rules binding on him.
Since he was not bound by these ordinances, Mr. Meitei said that a rule of the university barring an employee from taking part in politics and elections did not apply to him. He said that the university had asked him to clarify on his political affiliation but he did not reply to the queries “as I was answerable to only the three stated conditions mentioned in the administrator’s offer letter”.
“Unfortunately, my genuine right to remain silent – by not replying to any irrelevant query or queries – was officially concluded as ‘amounting to disobedience to his superior authority’. The administrator was neither my superior authority nor was I his subordinate,” he said.
Mr. Meitei said he was a primary member of the Congress and its designated spokesperson in Manipur. “As I respect your philosophy and ideology towards our nation and our people, I also do expect you to have the same honour for my philosophy and my ideology towards our nation and our people,” he said in the letter.
“As our Prime Minister, I strongly believe that you would look into the matter raised here on whether the action of the administrator Jarnail Singh (Manipur’s former Chief Secretary), in the capacity of the Vice-Chancellor of the university, removing me by breaching the terms of the three stated conditions was justified or not,” he added.