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NUJS drafts hilariously draconian service rules limiting faculty and staff freedoms like blogging, criticism, letter writing, bad family, etc…

No vindication allowed: WBNUJS Service Rules 2016
No vindication allowed: WBNUJS Service Rules 2016

In its draft WBNUJS Service Rules 2016, NUJS Kolkata has been seeking to restrict its faculty and staff from certain kinds of marriage, trade and business, association, engagement with the press and access to courts.

The set of 78 rules was circulated in draft form to the faculty inviting comments in early August.

NUJS vice chancellor Prof Ishwara Bhat did not respond to an email seeking comment on whether the rules were in force. An NUJS faculty member also did not respond to an emailed request for comment since Friday.

Some provisions in these service rules purport to apply directly to employees’ family members as well.

We could not confirm at the time of publication if any amendments have been made to these rules or if they have been passed.

No ‘adverse criticism’ in ‘any public utterance’ of ‘any university policy’

Rule 42(4): No employee shall, in any radio broadcast, telecast through any electronic media or in any document published in his own name or anonymously, pseudonymously or in the name of any other person or in any communication to the press or in any public utterance, make any statement of fact or opinion which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the University

(emphasis added).

Ban on any blogging without permission

This is preceded by the following general restrictions, in Rule 42, on being involved in running any online media, which could presumably include blogs, and conceivably also restrict publications on Facebook, Linked-in, Medium and other sites:

(1) No employee shall, except with the previous sanction of the University, own wholly or in part, or conduct or participate in the editing or management of any newspaper or periodical publication or electronic media.

Ban on letter writing or comment in media without permission (except if art or science)

The second part of Rule 42, restricts engagement with the press:

(2) No employee shall, except with the previous sanction of the University, or the prescribed authority or in the bonafide discharge of his duties, participate in a radio broadcast/electronic media or contribute any article or write any letter or a book either in his own name or anonymously, pseudonymously or in the name of any newspaper or periodical

However, the proviso excepts “literary, artistic and scientific” publications and broadcasts by the employees, from this restriction.

Restriction on seeking ‘vindication’ through press or courts

If there has been any act by the university that has (cryptically) been “the subject matter of adverse criticism or an attack of a defamatory character”, then permission needs to be sought before taking recourse to “any court or to the press” for “vindication”.

However, there is a carve out – if the college ignores the request for three months (or possibly – and this is not entirely clear - even if it denies the request?), the employee can go ahead and seek vindication through the press:

Rule 52(1): No employee shall except with the previous sanction of the University, have recourse to any court or to the press for the vindication of any official act which has been the subject matter of adverse criticism or an attack of a defamatory character. Provided that if no such sanction is received by the employee within a period of three months from the date of receipt of his request by the University, he shall be free to assume that the permission as sought for has been granted to him.

Prevent family members’ activities ‘subversive’ to the university or Government (and/or spy on them)

Faculty are expected under the draft rules to act as spies on any family members who are subversive of the Government or the University. What exactly counts as subversion, is not clear in this context:

Rule 40(3): It shall be the duty of every employee to prevent any member of his family from taking part in, subscribing in aid of, or assisting in any other manner any movement or activity which is, or tends directly or indirectly to be, subversive of the Government or the University as by law established and where an employee is unable to prevent a member of his family from taking part in, or subscribing in aid of or assisting in any other manner, any such movement or activity, he shall make a report to that effect to the University.

Must report if any family member involved in a trade?

Or, possibly depending on preferred reading, maybe this provision applies only to those involved in the insurance trade?

Rule 47(3): Every employee shall report to the University if any member of his family is engaged in a trade or business or owns or manages an insurance agency or commission agency.

No bigamy, restrictions on polygamy and please notify if marrying a foreign, ok?

The vice chancellor must grant approval before anyone can enter into a legal and polygamous marriage, while those marrying foreigners have to let the university know about it.

Rule 54: (1) No employee shall enter into, or contract, a marriage with a person having a spouse living; and

(2) No employee having a spouse living, shall enter into, or contract, a marriage with any person:

Provided that the Vice-Chancellor may permit an employee to enter into, or contract, any such marriage as is referred to in Clause (1) or Clause (2), if he is satisfied that

(a) such marriage is permissible under the personal law applicable to such employee and the other party to the marriage; and

(b) there are other grounds for so doing.

(3) An employee who has married or marries a person other than of Indian nationality shall forthwith intimate the fact to the University.

NUJS Kolkata Draft Service Rules (PDF)

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