Complainant against plagiarism now faces Calicut varsity inquiry

Applicant says person appointed to assistant professor post plagiarised her Ph.D. thesis

The Syndicate of the University of Calicut recently took a rather strange decision to initiate an inquiry against an applicant to the post of assistant professor at its Department of Russian and Comparative Literature, who had alleged that a person appointed to the post had plagiarised her Ph.D. thesis.

P.C. Ancy Bay, a native of Tenhipalam, had alleged that over 60% of the Ph.D. thesis of M. Sreekala, an assistant professor since January 2021, was plagiarised. Ms. Bay was one of the applicants for the post and was placed second on the rank list. She later filed a complaint with the Chief Minister’s office, which was taken up at the Syndicate meeting on December 30.

The complaint said,“…the Ph.D. submitted by Ms. Sreekala constitutes a plagiarised document and therefore, not eligible for, nor did it deserve the Ph.D. Degree. I request you to examine the facts and arguments submitted in this petition objectively. I request your timely intervention in the matter, and if my petition is found valid legally, I request you to initiate an executive procedure that could cancel the corrupt appointment of Ms. Sreekala in the Department of Russian and Comparative Literature, at the earliest.”

Sources said allegations of plagiarism had been levelled against Ms. Sreekala earlier as well. It had been pointed out that a committee led by M.M. Basheer, the then Dean of Language and Literature, in 2016 had found plagiarised content in one book and three research articles published by Ms. Sreekala. However, the full report of the committee is yet to be made public. Ms. Sreekala later worked at the department as a temporary teacher.

A report by the Assistant Registrar, recruitment section of the university, said, “…But, in the present complaint, specific allegations are made against the Ph.D. thesis submitted by her. It is understood that no such inquiry regarding academic plagiarism in the thesis submitted by Ms. Sreekala had been conducted as yet. It is also understood that the plagiarism check policy was implemented only in the university in April 2015 and Ms. Sreekala was awarded Ph.D. in July 2012, well before the said period”. The complaint was later forwarded to the Directorate of Research.

It remains unclear, however, what prompted the university to declare an inquiry against Ms. Bay. Meanwhile, she has filed a petition with the Kerala High Court highlighting her allegations. It is learnt that the authorities are perceiving the complaints against Ms. Sreekala as part of a campaign against the recruitment process in various departments.

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