Sunday , 24 February 2019

Vice Chancellor Must Wake Up To Forgery

The judicial magistrate first class, Panaji, has ordered the police to register a first information report against Goa University librarian V Gopakumar for securing his appointment on forged certificates, together with some university officials who were responsible for his appointment. Despite objections raised to Gopakumar’s appointment by candidates who claimed to have better qualifications than him, the university officials stuck to their decision. The court found that Gopakumar got himself selected by misrepresenting his biodata and using forged documents regarding his qualification and experience. However, the university took no action against him. He has continued in service as university librarian since January 2010.

Though a police complaint was lodged against Goa University officials and the principal of the University College of Palayam for misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, cheating, making false document, etc, way back in 2015, the police failed to take action and did not register an FIR. It is surprising that despite having been provided with enough evidence obtained through RTI, the police officer investigating the case chose to ignore it and relied on the reply given by the registrar of the Goa University in which he stated that Gopakumar was appointed after following due procedure and after ascertaining the eligibility as per the statutes in force at the time of the recruitment. The JMFC has pulled up the police officer for failing to take due cognizance of the facts mentioned in the complaint and probing the charges of misrepresentation and forgery. Passing strictures against the police officer in-charge of the Agassaim police station, the court observed that he failed to carry out statutory duties. It has come to light through RTI that Gopakumar had cleared his post graduate degree in library science in the year 2004 but had not cleared NET/SET nor got PhD at the time of interview at Goa University and as such could not be  eligible for the post of university librarian.

This is not the first time that an ‘unqualified’ person has been appointed to a post in Goa University. There are dozens of posts in the Goa University which have been lying vacant for years. There have been complaints in the past that candidates, who did not meet the requirements, were appointed. There have also been cases in which Goans belonging to reserved categories and meeting the requisite qualifications were ignored and people from other states selected. The university administration recently sought to take advantage of the state government’s relaxations on the issue of knowledge of Konkani to fill the vacancies by advertising various posts of professors, associate professors and assistant professors without specifying essential conditions. As per the norms it is mandatory for candidates aspiring for various posts in the state to produce domicile certificate of 15 years, besides having knowledge of Konkani. It was only when the matter was raised in the Assembly that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar announced that the relaxations were withdrawn. Fresh directions were issued by the state government asking Goa University to seek permission from the government on case-to-case basis with proper justification if it wants to fill posts.

Since Goa University is the highest seat of learning in the state, its functioning should be above board. A librarian with bogus certificates certainly does not belong here. Library is a hallowed place; fraud and cheating should not stain its atmosphere. Teachers and students would have no respect and would not like to trust a librarian with forged credentials. The order of the judicial magistrate first class, Panaji to the police to file an FIR against librarian V Gopakumar and university officials is a wake-up call for the Goa University vice chancellor.  Appointments to any post, teaching or non-teaching, should from now on be above board. Gopakumar’s case would suggest that the Goa University might need to send every new appointee’s certificates to the university or college or research institute concerned for checking if they were genuine or not. It is very intriguing indeed that the university allowed V Gopakumar to continue despite the finding that the concerned college did not issue the certificate he claimed he had got from them. It is even more intriguing that despite the order on October 7 of the judicial magistrate first class, Panaji to the police to file an FIR against librarian V Gopakumar, the vice chancellor has not taken the minimal action of putting him under suspension. Perhaps his indifference urgently calls for the intervention of Chancellor Mridula Sinha to tell the VC to suspend Gopakumar for the sake for salvaging something of the reputation the university has lost because of its officials appointing him and letting him continue in a post of high esteem.

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