ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Fighting against CCS Rules

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Against the background of the charge-sheeting of 48 Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) faculty under the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 (CCS rules), this autobiographical note may be relevant for this journal’s readers. I served at the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) from 1978 to 2006 (including the liens to be away on fellowships). Between October 1999 and July 2001 M L Sondhi was the ICSSR chairperson. A professor of International Relations at the School of International Studies, JNU, Sondhi was a fine human being and impeccably honest. But, because of his limited experience in bureaucracy he was taken for a ride by some elements to squander the ICSSR funds on frivolous matters. As a conscientious officer I wrote an article in EPW against this loot (“ICSSR and Social Science Research,” 17 February 2001). This was too much for him. He advised the ICSSR administration to take disciplinary action against me under the CCS rules. But, I realised that being an academic body, though fully funded by the government, the ICSSR was not governed by those rules. It had its own service regulations, the relevant clause of which had said that nothing should be done to harm the interests of the ICSSR. I started loudly announcing in the corridors that harming the interests of the chairperson did not amount to harming the interests of the ICSSR and, in a broad sense, that of social science research at large. It worked, and no action followed.

I do not know what rules govern the JNU faculty. If the CCS rules are applied, then this battle has to be fought tooth and nail. If academics do not hold independent views, then who will, the bureaucrats? It is the government that should be in the forefront to allow dissent for its own well-being. As the famous couplet of Kabir goes, “Nindak niyare rakhiye aangan kuti chhawaye, bin sabun pani bina nirmal karat subhaye” (Keep your critics close to you for it will be they who will keep you sanitised from all wrongdoings).

Partha S Ghosh

New Delhi

Updated On : 2nd Aug, 2019

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