Former HoD Veena Kukreja had died of post-Covid complications on May 14. In the interim, Saxena was made the officiating HoD.
Delhi University Political Science Professor Rekha Saxena has taken the university to court over alleged bypassing of the seniority norm in the appointment of the Head of Department (HoD) of Political Science.
The Indian Express had reported on June 7 that the move had come under criticism from some quarters after three senior professors, including Saxena, were allegedly bypassed to make Sangit Kumar Ragi the HoD. Former HoD Veena Kukreja had died of post-Covid complications on May 14. In the interim, Saxena was made the officiating HoD.
However, on June 4, Registrar Vikas Gupta issued a notification stating making Ragi the HoD.
Saxena has now gone to the Delhi High Court against DU, with the UGC, Union of India, and Ragi as the other respondents in the case. After the first hearing on the matter, Justice Jyoti Singh issued a notice to the parties in a written order on October 29. The next date of hearing is December 20.
In her petition, Saxena has cited Ordinance XXIII of DU’s rules. Clause 1 of the rules state that “the Head of the Department shall be appointed by the Vice-Chancellor by observing, as far as possible, the principle of rotation”. Clause 2 says, “Notwithstanding anything contained in Clause 1, if for any reason it has not been possible to appoint a person as Head of the Department who is senior to the person (persons) who has already served or is serving as Head of the Department, it shall be open to the Vice-Chancellor to appoint that person as Head of the Department whenever a vacancy next occurs if he can otherwise be so appointed.”
Based on the above, Saxena has said she was “illegally and arbitrarily” not considered for headship.
Earlier speaking to The Indian Express, DU Registrar Vikas Gupta had said Ragi was the senior-most. “There was a decision in the EC (Executive Council) on how to determine seniority between a direct recruitee and promotee. In this case, the direct recruitees joined on November 3, 2014, and their recommendation was approved by the then V-C on November 1, 2014. In the case of the promotees, the recommendation of the Selection Committee was approved by the then V-C on November 7, 2014. So we determine seniority from the date of approval of the V-C or EC which makes the direct recruitee senior in this case,” he had said.
However, the argument was not found acceptable by the three professors who were allegedly superceded. They had written to the then Acting V-C on June 29 asking that the decision either be overturned or the matter referred to the Chancellor.
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