Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) is facing a major controversy as teacher recruitments conducted between 2019 and 2023 have come under suspicion. An RTI (Right to Information) inquiry has revealed that the recruitment process ignored the University Grants Commission (UGC) standards.

The Executive Council (EC) of HPU, which holds the authority to appoint teachers, had delegated this power to the Vice-Chancellor. However, according to Act 12 C 7 of HPU, the EC cannot transfer such powers to the VC. The High Court has received petitions challenging these recruitments, alleging that this delegation of power was illegal.

In its ruling, the High Court declared delegating powers to the Vice-Chancellor as unlawful. It annulled the appointments of two associate professors in the Mathematics Department and one candidate under the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category. The court noted that the standards established for the teacher recruitment process were disregarded.

The petitions, backed by information obtained through RTI, claim that the Vice-Chancellor bypassed UGC standards to favour certain individuals. This has led to serious accusations against former Vice Chancellors Dr Sikandar Kumar and SP Bansal, who are alleged to have misused their positions.

Several petitions in the High Court argue that approximately 196 teachers and non-teaching staff were wrongfully appointed. These appointments were allegedly based on fake research papers and non-compliance with UGC criteria. The petitions assert that many of the appointees do not meet the necessary qualifications, thereby compromising the integrity of the university.

According to UGC regulations, teacher recruitment at HPU requires candidates to have passed the National Eligibility Test (NET) or to hold a PhD degree awarded per UGC’s 2009 guidelines. For those who have not passed the NET, they must meet five conditions:

  1. Conduct research as per UGC standards.
  2. Publish research work in journals.
  3. Attend two seminars related to their PhD thesis.
  4. Complete their PhD in regular mode.
  5. Have their PhD evaluated by an external examiner.

The court petitions claim that most appointees do not meet these criteria. Furthermore, questions have been raised regarding the validity of EWS and OBC certificates used in the recruitment process. The allegations suggest that the university administration appointed ineligible candidates, undermining qualified candidates and potentially jeopardizing the educational futures of countless students.

HPU now faces a tarnished reputation due to this recruitment scandal. The court’s intervention has highlighted the need for a thorough investigation by the government to restore the university’s integrity and ensure adherence to proper recruitment standards.