TNN | Jan 14, 2014,
Hatekar taught Microeconomics-II, a compulsory subject, to second semester students of MA Economics, and multiple linear regression and its extension, an elective, to Semester IV students. A total of 118 students were being taught these two courses by him.
“MA Economics is a credit-based course. A minimum of 72 credits are required to clear it and exams are held every six weeks. The suspension has put the fate of students in serious doubt as the university administration has not charted out any plans to deal with the academic implications,” said a note issued jointly by the Save Mumbai University Campaign and University Community for Democracy and Equality.
Meanwhile, a battery of economists—Princeton University’s Dilip Abreu, MIT’s Abhijit Banerjee, University of California, Berkeley’s Pranab Bardhan, Columbia University’s Jagdish Bhagwati, Harvard University’s Rohini Pande, Sujoy Chakravarty from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Arvind Panagariya from Columbia University, Delhi School of Economics’ Mausumi Das, Ashwini Deshpande, Parikshit Ghosh, Deepti Goel and Rohini Somanathan, and several others—have termed Hatekar’s suspension as disturbing.
“His suspension on the grounds of ‘spreading false propaganda’ and ‘moral turpitude’ looks like an attempt to muzzle dissent, intimidate critics and avoid scrutiny on the part of the university authorities,” they said in a note that was distributed among them all.
“The university is meant to be a place for the fearless pursuit of truth. The actions taken against professor Hatekar are a threat to academic freedom and the integrity of our institutions of higher learning. We find this to be a disturbing trend and protest it in the strongest terms.”
These economists have demanded that Hatekar’s criticism of the administration deserves to be taken seriously and he should not face punitive action until the truth is verified by an independent committee or a court of law. “The vice-chancellor, in this instance, cannot credibly act as an impartial judge since he himself stands accused of serious wrongdoing,” they said in the note.