SRINAGAR: Thursday was a controversial day at Kashmir University where the viva-voce for award of PhD degree to Maroof Naeem Qadri, in charge of the Information Technology department, was conducted despite the teachers’ association asking the university authorities to not conduct it.
The Kashmir University Teachers Association (KUTA), comprising about 400 university teachers, on Thursday wrote a letter to J&K Governor NN Vohra, who is Chancellor of KU, and to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the KU pro-chancellor, and to university authorities to not hold Qadri’s viva-voce interview till the inquiry to verify his master’s degree was completed.
“This representation is being made to you for some timely action as warranted under rules/regulations/statutes/norms of the University and for with-holding award of PhD degree in favour of Maroof Naeem Qadri so that any wrongful act is not committed by the University,” read the KUTA’s letter. Early this year, the university’s research scholars of the computer science department had questioned Qadri’s enrolment in their department as a research scholar. They questioned his Executive MBA in Information Technology (EMBAIT) degree on the grounds that it had been completed in less than two years. They also said that the degree had not been verified by a competent committee of KU. The scholars also said that Qadri held a master’s degree in a subject that was irrelevant to research in computer science. The scholars further said that Qadri had obtained his degree from an institution not recognised by the UGC.
On Wednesday, KUTA supported the scholars. It said that the PhD degree be withheld from Qadri until the “validity, authenticity and acceptability” of his EMBAIT degree is established by the “enquiry committee constituted for this purpose” and also “pending final outcome of the court case lodged by Qadri himself”.
KUTA President Dr Muheet Ahmed Butt said, “Since it is against the set rules and regulations to award PhD degree to such a person, it is my moral obligation as an elected representative (president) of around 400 teachers of the university to stop this wrongful act.”
The teachers said that the KUTA executive committee met the KU Registrar seeking his intervention for stopping the viva-voce. However, the viva-voce scheduled on Thursday was conducted.
“We were informed that the university’s legal cell had filed objections against holding the viva-voce but at the same time the viva-voce is being reportedly conducted. It reveals the paradoxical and self-contradictory approach of the university in this matter,” read the KUTA letter, adding that they also met all the concerned deans/officers of the university, who “seemingly agreed” with them.
“At the same time they expressed complete helplessness in taking desirable action,” the letter added.