PUCL Bulletin, August 2002

Bhagalpur: University teachers suspended for attending meeting for resettlement of encroachers

-- By Prabhakar Sinha, 19.06.2002

The Vice Chancellor of Tilkamanjhi Bhagalpur University, Dr. Ramashray Yadav, has suspended two teachers - Arjun Prasad and Dr. Vijay Kumar - on the basis of a news item published in a the Hindi Daily the Hindustan which reported that they had participated in a meeting of Laloo Nagar Lok Samiti which demanded that the encroachers being removed from the land of the University should be provided an alternative site by the district administration.

The Registrar of the University issued a letter to Dr. Vijay Kumar referring to the news item and asking him whether his participation in the meeting was not against the interest of the University and a hindrance to the progressive steps being taken by the University under the leadership of the Vice-Chancellor in addition to being against the code of conduct of the teachers under section 65 (2) of the Bihar State University Act, 1976 as amended up-to-date. The letter issued on 23.5.2002 gave him two days to submit his clarification, failing which the University was to take unilateral action.

But he was suspended on 24.5.2002 without waiting for his clarification, and he was ordered to report during the period of suspension at a college situated at a kasba more than 100 Kms away to harass and humiliate him. Interestingly, Dr. Vijay Kumar teaches Gandhian thought and the subject is not taught at the college where he was asked to report.

The Vice-Chancellor, who himself has been a teacher in Patna University, knows it well that the University teachers in Bihar have the right to participate in party politics and even today many of them are members of Council of Ministers. In fact, some seats in the Legislative Council are reserved for teachers including University teachers. The code of conduct of the teachers as provided under section 68 (2) does not put any restriction of the teachers' participation in any meeting or holding or expressing any opinion. Ironically, the other teacher, Arjun Prasad, has just been placed under suspension without being told why.

Bihar PUCL has complained to the Chancellor against this attack on human rights of the victims and Dr. Prabhakar Sinha, National Vice President, has complained to the National Human Rights Commission against the authoritarian act of the Vice Chancellor. The NHRC has been requested to recommend their reinstatement and order for payment of compensation to the victims from the pocket of the Vice-Chancellor.

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