The JNU administration on Monday said they have sought clarification from Professor Kavita Singh, who has alleged her leave to receive the Infosys Prize had been denied by the varsity's vice chancellor. Professor Chintamani Mahapatra, Rector-I of the varsity, said, "Certain kind of leaves are not a right. In many cases, professors apply late at night or after 5.30 pm when the office closes. She had applied for vacation leave/casual leave and on Monday, we wrote to her to clarify on the kind of leave."
Singh, however, said university staff have the option of applying for combination leaves and that is what she did.
"We have an e-office system where we can apply for leaves. It has dropdown menus and I had applied for vacation/casual leave around lunchtime on January 2. The next day, when I was in Bengaluru, I received an e-mail saying my leave had been rejected," she said.
She said that casual leave is a right and she did not apply for duty leave since it is an "entitlement" and her earlier duty leave applications had been rejected.
"Since I did not want the thing to be disputed, I applied for combination leave. On Monday, when I came back to office, I checked the e-office system and I saw the vice-chancellor's remarks on the leave cancellation and they read 'leave is granted subject to marking of attendance'," she said.
The JNU Teachers' Association and the administration has been at loggerheads over the issue of compulsory attendance, with the teachers alleging punitive actions have been taken against them for failing to comply with attendance rules.
Mahapatra said marking attendance is "only a matter of accountability" and even the University Grants Commission has said teachers should remain present in their respective offices for at least five hours each working day.
"If the teachers are coming what is the harm in signing a register. There were complaints from some students who said they were not able to meet teachers," he added.
All schools and special centres will shortly have biometric attendance system, he said.
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