Mumbai: Facing a legal challenge over being given a second term as a principal of Wilson College, Anna Nikalje insists that her hiring was by the book.
The University of Mumbai (MU) has withheld the process of her reappointment at the 190-year college, the oldest in the city, following a legal notice from a city-based lawyer, who has alleged irregularities in Nikalje’s appointment and promotion. The unavailability of some of the records pertaining to her first appointment as a lecturer at a Pharmacy college in 1994-1995 has been cited as the reason for deferring the tenure extension process.
Irregularities in Prof. Nikalje's appointment?
However, Nikalje said that she had a regular appointment as a lecturer of Organic Chemistry at YB Chavan College through an advertisement in English and Marathi dailies and a ‘proper’ selection panel having representatives from the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University (BAMU). “I didn’t retain the advertisement of 1995 with me and that doesn’t mean that process happened just like that,” she said.
Naseer Jahagirdar, the lawyer who complained against the academician, had claimed that Nikalje’s appointment at the Pharmacy college wasn’t regular, and hence her subsequent promotion under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) in 2019 and being put on the state’s payroll after becoming Wilson College principal was also illegal.
Wilson is a minority private college aided by the state government. In 2020, then governor and chancellor of the university Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, after seeking reports from MU and Dr Babasaheb Ambedar Marathwada University (BAMU) Aurangabad, had found no fault in Nikalje’s appointment.
However, following fresh complaints, the state government last year sought another inquiry into the matter by Shrinivas Dhure, Director of Sydenham Institute of Management Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship Education. FPJ has learned that this probe was inconclusive, as Dhure couldn’t obtain some of the documents related to Nikalje’s service from BAMU and the Pharmacy college.