New Delhi: Following repeated rejections of doctorate thesis, IIT-Kharagpur scholar Mahesh Shirole finally received his PhD degree this time, his supervisor said. Shirole’s thesis has been rejected six times since 2015.
Shirole and Professor Rajeev Kumar had been running from pillar to post, including the office of the President of India, against the denial of PhD. The president is the Visitor to the IIT-Kharagpur among other central institutes.
“I am happy that Mahesh Shirole has got a PhD degree after six years of battle with the IIT Kharagpur and the Ministry of Education,” Shirole’s supervisor Kumar, who is now a professor in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. “It is better to be late than never,” he added.
Shirole received his PhD in the 66th convocation of the institute held virtually on Tuesday last week. Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the address as the chief guest in the convocation.
The scholar had submitted his thesis in 2014, which was accepted by an Indian examiner, but rejected by an NRI one, Kumar said, adding that as per the laid down practice, the thesis was never sent to the third examiner, the agency reported.
According to Shirole, the IIT kept on directing him to revise the thesis and it was sent to the same NRI examiner thrice, who rejected it with new comments every time.
Kumar, fighting for his student’s justice, had claimed that the denial was the result of the institution’s “vindictive attitude” towards him.
“IIT Kharagpur’s denial of PhD to the student is an extension of its vindictive attitude against me. IIT Kharagpur has been vindictive to me, as I disclosed arbitrariness and irregularities in IITs admissions in 2006 onwards, and contributed significantly in reforming IITs admissions and academic processes,” he had mentioned this in multiple appeals to authorities.
The premier institute had suspended Kumar on charges of misconduct in May 2011. He was accused of damaging the institution’s reputation by levelling allegations of irregularities in admissions, purchase of laptops and rampant copying by students in exams.
Then, a penalty of compulsory retirement was imposed on Kumar in 2014, but that was set aside by the then President Pranab Mukherjee.
By the time, Kumar was appointed and joined JNU in 2015 amid the ongoing legal fight on the matter.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court had hailed Kumar as an “unsung hero” in 2011 for his efforts to reform the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), which has since been re-christened as JEE-Advanced.