Thursday, February 25, 2016

Justice P Devadass puts Madras University in spot

Feb 25 2016 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Univ in spot as judge wants to submit LLD thesis out of turn

Madras Univ Syndicate To Discuss Issue
Days before Madras University is set to get a new vice-chancellor, a syndicate meeting of the varsity scheduled on Thursday will have on its agenda a set of controversial requests.Among them is the case of Madras high court judge Justice P Devadass who is seeking to submit his thesis for an LLD (Doctor of Laws), the highest degree awarded by the university. As per the university regulations, an LLD application can be submitted only 10 years after a doctoral degree (PhD) is acquired.Justice Devadass received his doctoral degree only late last year.
A university official said the varsity has been put in a spot as rejecting the request would raise many questions, but, at the same time, it was bound to follow the regulations. “It is an extremely tricky situation,“ said the official. The request came up for discussion earlier, and was turned down by syndicate members. However, this is the first time that it is officially included in the agenda. Justice Devadass was in accessible; his personal assi stant turned down a request from TOI to talk to the judge.
Some university officials expressed concern that such requests could open the flo odgates for similar ones from influential people “Why should it be brought up as an agenda when a thoro ugh review and verification of the candidate's research is required over a period of 10 years?“ said an official.
This is not the only such request on the agenda. A can didate who had applied for his PhD in 1995 has requested to submit his thesis after a long gap of 21 years. “The maximum period within which a PhD thesis may be submitted is six years. An ex tension was given to the can didate who failed to produce the thesis,“ said a source.
Some syndicate members are surprised that the Thurs day meeting would take up the financial estimates for the year 2016-17, not waiting for the appointment of a VC.“Such policy decisions should be taken in the presence of the VC,“ he said.
Another official of the university said hundreds of files on administrative matters were pending. “The convener's committee has not met even once since R Thandavan stepped down as VC in January . Many PhD degree candidates are losing out on employment opportunities as several award communications are pending,“ said a syndicate member.
After Thandavan's exit, the convener's committee took over the duties of the varisty on January 18. The committee comprises higher education principal secretary Apoorva as convener, and director of collegiate education K Sekar and economics professor K Jothi Sivagnanam as members. Sivagnanam became the third member on February 9 after Thangam Menon's tenure as a syndicate member ended.

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