A notification by the Higher Education Department of West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee government posing questions regarding the normal functioning of ovaries and uterus during medical examination of female employees proposed to be appointed to any post has raised the hackles of Jadavpur University teachers who have demanded the withdrawal of the "insulting" order.
The largest body of JU teachers are up in arms against the government for the notification which makes police verification and medical examination mandatory for all employees proposed to be appointed to any post.
The notification dated February 24, and gazetted on February 27, decrees that all category of employees of state-aided universities and government-aided colleges - proposed to be appointed in any post, shall invariably be required to complete verification of personal antecedents and successful medical examination - by "appropriate police authorities" and "competent medical board", respectively.
"The authority of concerned colleges or universities shall, however, initially issue a provisional appointment letter to the incumbent concerned with a rider" that "confirmation of service shall be withheld till receipt of report of police verification and medical examination, even after the completion of the usual period of probation".
Calling for the immediate withdrawal of the "insulting and authoritarian notification", the Jadavpur University Teachers' Association (JUTA) demanded an apology from the state government and the Higher Education Department.
"This notification is further evidence of the complete curtailment of the autonomy of institutions of higher education by the government of West Bengal. We strongly condemn and protest such imposition," said JUTA Secretary Partha Pratim Ray.
Ray railed against the query in schedule 1 of the prescribed verification roll seeking to know whether the candidate is "originally a resident of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal or any other country".
"This echoes the motives behind the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which casts doubts on the status of all citizens of India," he said.
Refering to the details to be filled up for medical verification, he said they were "equally insulting", and pointed to a query regarding the normal functioning of ovaries and uterus.
"What does the functioning of a candidate's ovaries and uterus, and the certification of their normalcy or otherwise), have to do with educational achieverments and teaching abilities?
"This not only demeans women but also gives cause for surprise in a state whose Chief Minister is herself a woman," he said.
Iterating that police verification and medical examination have no connection with academic competence and ability of individuals, he said: "This is a direct, brutal insult to those individuals who have, till now, been held in the highest esteem by ordinary members of the public and casts suspicion on all members of the teaching profession."