It was in the news recently, the promotion matter in Panjab University, Chandigarh that started on account of the anomalies in the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines related to promotion of faculty members. Around 31 members of the varsity had applied for promotion under the new guidelines. However, there promotions have been withheld for nearly three months now.The clause in concern is the clause 6.3 of the UGC guidelines of 2018. It became an issue after the teachers argued that it gave them the eligibility to apply for promotion as they fulfilled the criteria for promotion.
The clause 6.3 reads as “The criteria for promotions under CAS laid down under these regulations shall be effective from date of notification of these regulations. However, to avoid hardship to those faculty members who have already qualified or are likely to qualify shortly under the existing regulations, a choice may be given to them, for being considered for promotions under the existing regulations. This option can be exercised only within three years from date of notification of these regulations.” The primary issue, which became the base for objections against the promotion of the faculty, was that the term ‘shortly’ was not defined in the clause. However, an official at the audit department confirmed that it defined a period of a few months, but not more than an year. In its reply to a letter by the UT to UGC, regarding clarity on promotion rules, the UGC wrote that the matter has been referred to an internal committee and is under consideration. The resident audit officer (RAO) had raised objections against the pending promotion of the teachers. It is unfortunate that the delay that is expected to be caused in the working is going to keep the future of these teachers uncertain and in dark. Absence of a quick action is felt not only by the teachers but by the varsity itself as well. It affects the quality of education when the faculty members themselves remain in the dark. The fundamental cause of this complication is the negligence of the concerned authorities while introducing such guidelines. It is bound to cause problems if the issuer is not aware of the meaning of each word or phrase used in the guideline. Such errs must be avoided in future.
Fortunately, there is an Anomaly Committee of the UGC that sits meets after every three months to discuss such matters. The PUTA vice-president Mritunjay Kumar confirmed that the matter will be placed before the said committee. However, till the time the committee meets, the promotion will remain status quo and the future of the teachers in a limbo.Such problems can be avoided in future if such statutory bodies (such as the UGC) are cautious while introducing similar guidelines and avoid the use of ambiguous words and phrases. The body itself should not remain a stranger to what it is introducing as a regulation for lower authorities and should be clear with every provision in the guidelines.
For case specific advice on subject of promotion in government departments like Punjab University etc , one can approach CAT Tribunal Chandigarh (Central Administrative Tribunal), Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT Chandigarh Chandimandir) or Punjab & Haryana High Court Chandigarh Service law top Advocate/lawyer for employees of State Government if there are deviations from service rules and settled principles of law.
This post is written by Prajjwal Gour. For more info, dial 99888-17966.