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Posted at: Jun 19, 2019, 7:51 AM; last updated: Jun 19, 2019, 7:51 AM (IST)

Leave row: High Court relief for MCM teacher

Saurabh Malik & Amarjot Kaur  
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 18

Renu Bala, a physics teacher at the MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, despite writing a number of copious emails to the college Principal, the Dean, College Development Council (DCDC), Panjab University, and the Director of the UT Education Department wasn’t given a no-objection certificate (NOC) to attend an international collaboration project funded by the German government. Hassled and harrowed, she had filed a case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which allowed her to visit Germany.

Bala’s case has whipped up a storm with Panjab University Senator Jagdish Mehta and MCM DAV College Teachers Union president Renu Bedi accusing the college Principal of “biased and vindictive” disposition.

On May 9, Bala was invited by the University of Applied Sciences, FH, Munster, Germany, from June 15 to July 7 to attend a project, titled “One-dimensional Interacting Electron Fluids and the Formation of Strong Correlations”, for the initiation of an international collaboration supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). “You are kindly invited to give a talk in the workshop at the beginning of July 2019 in Dresden,” read the invite.

Subsequently, Bala, on May 14, wrote an email to the college Principal, seeking permission to attend the overseas project during the summer vacation. The next day, Bala wrote another email. “This is in continuation to my earlier mail regarding the NOC. I further want to add that it should be a matter of pride for the institution if some faculty is invited at the international level. Probably, this is the first time in the history of the college that somebody is representing the institute abroad at such a level. This is a great opportunity for the institution, department and me. I once again request you to grant me the NOC at the earliest. 

Regarding the admission duty notice (June 24 to June 30), I will provide my substitute for the work and can also complete my work online in Germany.”

When The Tribune contacted Renu Bala on the WhatsApp number she was using in Germany, she said, “I have been unnecessarily humiliated and assigned admission duties despite intimation about my overseas visit, that too during the summer vacation. I had to go to the court to fend for myself.”

After the conversation, she emailed a string of letters she had written to the college Principal and several other persons in the position of authority in the education sector. On May 30, she wrote about the “unnecessary interference by the MCM office staff in the middle of the exam duty” to the CoE. On May 28, Bala wrote to the Director of the Department of Higher Education, Chandigarh, and on June 1, she wrote to the Dean, College Development Council.

To this, Nisha Bhargava, Principal, MCM DAV College for Women, said, “I have given 133 days of leave to Renu Bala in a three-and-a-half-year period for her research endeavours. Also, I gave her an NOC, but only till June 23 because Bala was assigned admission duty, but she hasn’t signed the admission duty. Already 30 staff members are on ex-India leave. Moreover, she frequently sends me disrespectful emails.”

Contradicting Nisha, Senator Jagdish Mehta shared, “As per the PU calendar and the UGC, a woman teacher has the right to avail of 20 days of casual leave annually. Besides, if a teacher or a professor is going to present a paper at a seminar, be it in India or abroad, his/her ‘absence’ falls under the ‘duty leave’. Even refresher and orientation courses for PhD teachers are compulsory. The college Principal is misleading. When a professor or a teacher visits aboard to present a paper or attend a workshop, it adds more points to the NAAC rankings.”

Renu Bedi, president, MCM DAV College Teachers Union, said, “As per a Supreme Court judgment, a teacher may not avail of an NOC if she is leaving during the vacation period. Principal Nisha is being plain vindictive. Also, as per another judgment, if a prof/teacher applies for an NOC, she cannot be appointed for any other duty. Also, in case of the admission duty, one is to check forms online and there’s the Internet everywhere, you don’t have to be in the college to access it.” 

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