IIT Kanpur Professor under a cloud after he complains of discrimination and harassment

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE IIT Kanpur senate has recently recommended that the Phd Thesis of one of its rare Dalit Faculty member, Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela be revoked on grounds of Plagiarism. Dr Sadrela’s fate now hangs in balance as the Board of Governors of IIT Kanpur will take a final call on the Senate’s recommendation, which might result in him losing his job.

Professor Subrahmanyam Sadrela had complained of harassment and discrimination at the hands of his colleagues which was later found to be true. Turning the tables on him, the Senate has now recommended that his PhD be revoked on grounds of plagiarism even though the Institute’s Ethic’s Cell did not find any evidence of it in his research work.



An anonymous complaint had emerged against Dr Sadrela alleging that parts of his PhD thesis were plagiarised. The Academic Ethic Cell, however, found that there was no plagiarism with regard to Dr Sadrela’s research work and any instances of plagiarism were limited to introductory passages and explaining the basics. The Ethics Cell had thus recommended that he rewrite those parts and tender an apology letter for his “misdemeanour”, which he complied with.

In a blatantly arbitrary decision, the senate in its meeting of March 14, 2019, decided to vote in favour of revoking Dr Sadrela’s thesis, going against the findings of the Ethics Cell.


Clear Bias


The series of events that have unfolded reflect a clear bias against Dr Sadrela who had complained of harassment and discrimination at the hands of four of his colleagues in January last year. A fact finding committee was set up to look into his complaints that were found to be true.

Following this, another enquiry was set by IIT Kanpur, led by a retired Allahabad High Court judge. The committee came out with a similar decision, finding the accused teachers guilty of violating the conduct rules of IIT Kanpur and the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The Board of Governors, however, in another instance of bias, decided to the hold the teachers guilty of only the conduct rules of IIT Kanpur and not the SC and ST Act.

It has been reported that Dr Sadrela had filed an FIR against the four teachers in November 2018, which is pending before the Allahabad High Court. Allegations of plagiarism in his thesis emerged soon after that and became the ground for initiating enquiries against him.